Daily Archives: May 30, 2012
My wife and I are trying (desperately) to teach both thankfulness and prayer to our two boys. My eldest son has a hard time with both of these (must take after his dad). After our family Bible story each evening we go around and pray and all we ask for now is that they say one thing they are thankful. Luke was thankful for being able to go to the park yesterday, but Jack said he didn’t have anything. After pressing him, he was thankful for “the day”.
Why is it so easy to feel entitled to things and take blessings for granted?
I know, sin. I think it also has to do with the fact that, as Craig Groeschel puts it, “we believe in God, but live as if he doesn’t exist.” Thankfulness is something that comes out of a heart that understands and appreciates the gift given. Prayer is an outpouring of our need and true belief in God. If we expect blessing and feel entitled, we won’t be thankful, and if are not thankful, we will probably not see a need for God, or need for prayer.
I fully point the finger at myself on both of these counts. Having grown up in the church, as well as in a middle-class home, I felt a certain amount of entitlement both spiritually and externally. I was like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal sons – I didn’t want the Father any more than the younger son, I just wanted him for what I was going to inherit and kept “slaving away”.
So what to do about my son’s (any my) lack of thankfulness and desire to pray? In his first session from The Christian Atheist, Craig Groeschel says that to know God better, seek him. If you seek him, he will reveal himself to you. It seems that going through the work of daily counting our blessings and setting aside specific time to pray will help. Another idea came from my pastor while teaching on Ephesians this weekend. Take yourself under the wing of a prayer mentor from the Bible. Look at Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1. Paul says, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Look how Paul prays, and use this prayer as a template of sorts. Pray that you would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that God would reveal himself to you. Pray that you would see the hope of who you are in Christ and what he has called us to be.
This is what I told Jack last night. That sin keeps us from being thankful, and when we are not thankful we listen to the snake (Satan). But when we are thankful, we listen to Jesus and defeat the snake.