Yesterday we were appreciating the fact that, when it comes to things that will help us to live Godly lives, we can ask God for His help, with confidence. Because of course the Father will give us anything that helps us to grow into the likeness of his Son, but what about other things? What about asking Him for healing, or for money, for a job, or a car. What about asking Him for a husband or a child? What about praying for things for others? How can we ask with confidence in these situations, where there can be some confusion in our minds about what the Lord’s will is, and therefore some doubt in our hearts as we ask.
I think the key may be found here in Psalm 37:3,4 ‘Trust in the Lord and do good; Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ It is interesting how the psalmist leads us through ‘trusting in the Lord’, ‘doing good’, and then ‘delighting in the Lord’, before we get to ‘and He will give you the desires of your heart’. And as we take a walk through this the verse from Psalm 37 step by step, we will see how yet again ‘thanksgiving’ brings us out into a place of confidence and ‘faith’ as we pray.
‘Trust in the Lord and do good’. Well as we have said now, many times this year, the best way to build trust in the Lord is by remembering and thanking Him for His past mercies and goodness. As we feed our hearts on all the things that the Lord has done for us, and all His promises, our trust in Him just grows and grows. We can even write our own reciprocating psalm like Psalm 136. Recounting His goodness in times past to ourselves and to one another, with the chorus, ‘Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever’, will lift our trust levels astronomically. It will also help us to ‘do good’, because when you remember all the ways in which you have been blessed, then you will both want to do the right things, make the right choices, and you will also want to be a blessing to others.
Next, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord’, or in The Passion Translation, ‘Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life’. Well that too is surely going to involve thanksgiving! When we delight in something it’s a bit like ‘savouring’ our food. We take time to enjoy the sight, the smell and the flavours. You can’t rush something if you are ‘savouring’ it. In the same way ‘thanksgiving’ slows us down enough to ‘savour’ God’s goodness. Taking time to ruminate over His character, and all the good things He has done for us. Taking time to enjoy His word, His promises and to think about all the things He has brought into our lives, happens at a much greater depth, if we are doing so with a heart of gratitude. Often the more grateful you are for something or someone, the more beautiful and delightful they become to you; it’s a glorious circle.
Then we reach the part where it says, ‘and He will give you the desires of your heart.’ So how do I know that these desires are OK and in line with His will? That is to say, how can I be sure that He will be happy to give me these things that I desire? So I believe that as we approach the Lord through this journey of thanksgiving described above, there will also have been a process going on within us very much like the tuning up of a violin. As we thank Him that He is trustworthy and good, and as we savour and take delight in our relationship with Him, our hearts and spirits will gradually be tuned to His ‘pitch’. Our spirits will begin to resonate with His. His desires will start to set our desires in the right direction. We will be singing the same song – His song for us!
If before I pray for myself, or for others, or for any situation I am bringing before Him, I can give thanks and worship first, [pray in tongues too if you have this gift] then the Holy Spirit will fill my heart and mind with God’s heart for this moment and I can pray knowing that the desires of my heart will be coming ever more closely synchronized to His and therefore to His will for me at this time, and in this situation.