BY CLIFTON JONES
Before we proceed any further let us feed our faith on the 150 Psalms.
“Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: Praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: Praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.”
There is great value in lifting up the word of God. Nothing builds faith like the word of God.
“Faith comes by hearing the word of God. A person’s testimony may give us hope but, if we want our faith built up we need the word.”
Some people think if they give their testimony, that will build faith. No, it takes the Word of God to build real faith. Testimonies build hope. Hope makes you not ashamed. But if we want something to really
stand on, we must stand on the word. “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we
may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”
We have read Psalm 150 and 1st Timothy 2:1,2 to serve as a pattern. Whatever we do, we need to find a pattern we can work with. Praying as we have already mentioned is more than words. It is also God’s Word
being presented back to Him.
“We should never think that anything we do can force God into doing something that He doesn’t want to do.”
But, when we have the faith to take God’s Word and lift it up before Him, He is such an outstanding God that he will never let His Word fall to the ground. If He can get someone to hold on to His Word He will
definitely do what He said, and we won’t be forcing Him, He wants to work for us.
Now let’s focus again on one of our foundation passages of 1st Timothy 2:1.2. This verse is power packed with many of the ingredients of prayer.
The writer says:
– First of all, I’m begging you to pray (that’s the first thing to do).
– Secondly, supplications – making requests (we are good at that).
– Next: intercession – pleading in behalf of others (asking God to have mercy on them); outgrowing our personal needs; being able to pray in behalf of others.
GIVING OF THANKS
The next phase I want to highlight is “Giving of Thanks.” One of the areas we seem to really have trouble with is praying a prayer of thanks. If we learn how to stand on this principle of giving thanks, it will broaden our sense of appreciation.
“When we start giving God thanks, it releases in us inner strength, it builds us up, it awakens, & it vibrates in us.”
The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “the word of God is quick.” Those of us that read the modern translations it might say, “the word of God is living and active. ” And when we get the faith to start giving thanks to the God that we pray to and obey, we release ourselves from whatever is trying to imprison our spirits to keep us from praying. I hope we will take this to heart.
You can tell when a person is having a problem. I mean really having a problem, their knees develop a severe stiffness, making them difficult to bend. And if it’s not their knees, something else start to hurt.
But, what is really being said is, I don’t know how to hook up my prayer wheel. I don’t really know how it works. Every time I go to operate in the spirit of prayer I feel bound. If we can just take heed to the importance of “giving of thanks”, our prayer scope will expand.
GIVING OF THANKS
I want to focus on some of the ingredients that are in this verse: “Prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks for all men.” For who? All men, even that ill fame done. Now how can you give thanks for a
drunk? At least you can thank God that he has not cut him off and that he still has a chance.
“Lord, I thank you for giving me the right words to say to him.” When you don’t know what to thank God for, thank Him that you are still here. Don’t think you are here because you have been very careful. It
is nothing but His goodness. If you don’t have anything to thank Him for, just thank Him for being good. Giving of thanks must be made for all men. That goes to show, that we must pray for our legislators, our
governors and our president, even if we think they are not doing a blameless job. That will really help because the Lord said so. He told me to give thanks.
Philippians 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
With thanksgiving is how we mix our faith in the request. If you have read my prayer manual, you may recall what I said about giving of thanks. This is not a make-up illustration, this is a reality.
The neighbors used to send to our house for some greens or whatever. There was one family in particular. They would knock on our door and call for Ms. Anna. They would say, “Ms. Anna, Mama said thank you for
some collards.” Now they did not have the collards yet, but they were so sure she was going to give them some collards, they would thank her in advance. Likewise the Scripture said Prayer should be accompanied
Let me say this, our prayers do not twist God’s arm when we say Lord give me, give me, give me. But if we give thanks, that sounds like we believe that He is going to do something. Lord, these bills are accumulating. When are you going to bless me? Stop your complaining you’re the one who made them. Stop whining and offer some thanksgiving. Lord, I thank You for blessing me to meet my needs, I thank You.
I had to go on an engagement a few weeks past, and I was attacked by a cold germ. After ministering, the room I had to change in was without heat, so I picked up a cold germ. Upon my return to Philly, it had
begun to effect my throat. I simply said, Lord, I thank You for killing that cold germ. I began to thank Him. I don’t know what He did to it, or where He sent it, as long as it didn’t bother me. With thanksgiving, as you pray, please remember that we have scriptural foundations to add thanksgiving to whatever request we make. Mix some thanks with your request.
Thanksgiving can be thought of as the adhesive to glue our envelope. When the request is made, we seal it with thanksgiving. Now we can not keep adding thanksgiving to our request without our faith rising out of
the basement and reaching a higher level of expectancy. Because every time we add thanksgiving it brings us closer to our answer. We’ll feel like singing, “Seem like I can see the breaking of day.” With thanksgiving, its always good to establish our faith on the scripture, so that our foundation will be sure.
Let us consider the following Scriptures:
Psalm 107:22 “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.”
Psalm 100:4 “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving.”
Colossians 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts …. to the which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful.”
I just want to touch on these scriptures in case somebody wants to know if thanksgiving was really Biblical.
Psalm 50:14 “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most high.”
Psalm 92:1 “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and sing praises unto thy name, 0 Most High.”
It is good to be thankful, so mix your prayers with thanksgiving.
If you are ever asked how should prayers be sealed, tell them with thanksgiving. If anybody ask you how do you open a prayer, tell them with thanksgiving. If they then want to know how to open a prayer, tell them with thanksgiving. You know there are times when God’s children get down to pray and a holy hush comes over them. Sometimes it’s a battle in our mind, our minds go off to Chicago, up to Rochester, over to Texas, and up to Kankakee and down to New Orleans. While we’re in that holy hush attitude our minds have made a world wide panoramic excursion and we get up calling that prayer.
“Whenever we find ourselves lost for words, thanksgiving will help the wings of faith to rise in our spirit. Only those who will not give thanks, are the ones who refuse to express their gratefulness.”
But any time we take God’s Word and exalt His Word we’re giving our faith a good foundation to build on. Actually we can pray the words of the scriptures and that way we know we won’t go wrong. We can’t go
wrong going right. And praying God’s word back to Him is right.
I Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
A thankful person is always in God’s will. Crazy as it may sound, give Him thanks for that headache. What! Yes thank Him that it is leaving. Thank You Lord, this headache is getting out of here, thank You Lord
this headache is going back where it belongs. You see it takes a measure of faith for that. But, just say to the Lord, if it comes again, I’ll just thank You again. Thanksgiving is very valuable to our praying. The Scriptures are very valuable to our praying. The Scripture will introduce God to us.
When we talk to the Lord using His Word, we know we are speaking His language, out of His own book; we are speaking what He has spoken. Just think how He has given us everything that pertains unto life and
Godliness (2 Peter 2:3). “So I say I Thank You Lord that I have divine life inside of me.” Think of it, I’VE GOT DIVINE LIFE INSIDE OF ME. Many people are worried about dying of a heart attack. But I thank God that I have divine life inside of me. Dying won’t kill divine life. You see dying releases divine life. Those with it are like a bird with a string on his leg, being held in bondage, and when the string breaks, the bird flies away. He’s a free bird now. Lord, I thank You I have divine life. You know there’s something else I find myself thanking Him for often. I thank Him for salvation. Then I find myself adding another word. I thank Him for JOY unspeakable. We got something to be thankful for. And I just love to thank Him for peace. Do you see all the confused people in this world? You know something else, Satan is doing a job on some of the saints too. He is trying to get us to worry ourselves sick.
“Worry is not the substitute for prayer. Worry is nothing but a short-cut to the cemetery.”
Think about it worry has never changed a problem. Now if we really want to exchange our worries, we need to add more thanksgiving. Offer unto Him thanksgiving that will work.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM “INTIMACY WITH GOD” BY CLIFTON JONES, HIS IMAGE PUBLISHERS, 1993, PAGES 25-32. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.