Summary: Learn how to pray with an attitude of thanksgiving.
HOW TO PRAY WITH THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
How seriously do you take the commands of God? I know that when that question is asked, that there are some who will immediately think of the Ten Commandments, and that’s good. However, there are more than just the Ten Commandments in God’s Word. One of those commands is found in the passage of scripture that I just read to you. This command is a very simple command and it is easy to understand. But, I have a confession to make. I don’t always find this command easy to obey. Let’s read it again, Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. You may want to ask, “Pastor, what do you find to be difficult in that passage?” I want you to notice, “The words ’in all circumstances.’” If Paul had said, “In most things, give thanks,” I would have no problem. It is the fact that Paul said, “In all circumstances,” that gives me trouble. Paul gives similar admonitions in Ephesians 5:20, Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I may be expressing more of my humanity than you want to know, but I have trouble giving thanks for everything that comes my way. When those times come I remind myself of what God’s word say’s in Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to then that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. If I believe what that scripture is saying, and I do believe it, then I will do what God commands in the scripture. I will give thanks to God in everything and for everything because I know that God is going to work all things together for my good and His glory.
The title of this sermon is “Prayer Changes Attitudes.” Many of us here this morning could use an attitude adjustment. I know that all of us struggle with a bad or negative attitude from time to time. Our attitude will determine our outlook on life. I will admit that when attitudes are bad or negative it is difficult to give thanks to God during that time. Paul says, “ It is God’s will for you and me, ” God wants us to give thanks in all circumstances. He did not say it would be easy. He did not say we would always feel like it. He said, “It is God’s will that we give thanks to Him in all things.”
If you think about the Apostle Paul for a moment, you will realize that he did not always have the best of circumstances come his way. As a matter of fact, when he wrote these words, he was sitting in prison. So, Paul understood what he was asking. For Paul, giving thanks was a way of life. As children of God, we should have similar attitudes.
I. WHY SHOULD WE GIVE THANKS TO GOD IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES?
There are four reasons why we should give thanks to God in all circumstances.
1. When you and I are giving thanks to God, we are telling God that we are aware of His continual presence.
The truth is this. God wants us aware of His presence in our lives all of the time. There are times when we simply forget that God is with us. It could be in the good times as well as the bad times. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the good things of life that we forget that God is with us. I remember reading a story about a young lady that went on a double date with one of her friends. She and her date were riding in the back seat talking about what a wonderful time they were having, when the driver pulled up in the parking lot of a disco club. The driver turned around and said, “ I would like to go in there.” The young lady in the back seat said, I have a friend with me that wouldn’t like that place.” Her date replied, “ Oh, I want mind going in there.” The young lady looked at her date and said, “ I wasn’t talking about you, I was talking about my other friend, Jesus. I’m a Christian and Jesus wouldn’t like that place. ” This young lady was aware of God’s continual presence.
God is also with us during the bad times. Sometimes we allow our bad circumstances to blind us of this truth. When things become difficult we sometimes question, “ Where is God? ” When the storm clouds of life darken your sky so that you can’t see the Son Light. You need to remember that He is still present, even if you see no evidence of His presence. I remember when flying to Pittsburgh when I was 17, during the trip we encountered a storm. The plane was being tossed around like a toy because of the turbulence. The Captain announced over the intercom that we would be climbing to a higher altitude to try to get above the storm. We were all waiting patiently when all at once we broke through the clouds. The whether was calm and peaceful, and guess what? The sun was shining. The storm clouds and bad whether had darkened our sky, but it had not removed the sun presence from the sky. We just had to climb above the storm clouds and bad whether to see it. Maybe that is what God is trying to get us to do; Climb a little higher, get a little closer to Him in order to get a glimpse of His wonderful Glory.