Tag Archives: thanks

WHAT IS A PRAYER OF APPRECIATION?

Prayer of Appreciation

by Judith Lawrence

Deer and King: Celtic Knotwork by Judith Lawrence

Deer and King: Celtic Knotwork by Judith Lawrence

“One of the most beautiful forms of prayer is the prayer of appreciation. This prayer arises out of the recognition of the gracious kindness of creation. We have been given so much. We could never have merited or earned it. When you appreciate all you are and all you have, you can celebrate and enjoy it. You realize how fortunate you are. Providence is blessing you and inviting you to be generous with your gifts. You are able to bless life and give thanks to God. The prayer of appreciation has no agenda but gracious thanks.” John O’Donohue Eternal Echoes P, 198/199

When we were children we were taught to say “please” when we asked for something and “thank you” when we received it. After a while it became the normal thing to do and for most of us it has carried on into our adult years.

Those of us who were brought up in Christian homes were probably taught how to pray to God, often closing our days with prayer before we went to sleep. The habit of prayer may not have been carried on in our lives once we passed the time when our parents prayed with us and so it may not have been ingrained in us as much as our almost automatic pleases and thank you’s in our day to day lives.

However, as responsible Christians we usually return to the ground of prayer at some point in our adult life and as we grow in our prayer life and our love for God we also grow in appreciation for all that we have been given. Many of us ask God for what we need, many thank God for what we have been given, and many more write gratitude journals.

As we make our daily gratitude lists, we become more aware of all the gifts that surround us, whereas before, we took many of these gifts for granted. Our appreciation for the wonders that surround us grows and we cannot help but cry aloud, “Thank you, God.” So many blessings, so much love, and so much joy—thanks be to God!

Judith Lawrence

Judith Lawrence lives in Muskoka, Ontario, a land of lakes, forests, and wildlife. She began to write seriously when she was in her fifties and has written three non-fiction spiritual books. Judith has also written a book of mystical poetry and one of short stories; she writes a weekly blog about contemplation and records a podcast meditationmonthly.

HAUNTED BY GOD

Haunted by God

by Jan Cox 

Haunted by God

“God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in. If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t trip over my own feet” (Psalm 25:14-15 The Message).

As I thought over this passage it reminded me of the story of Peter walking out to meet Jesus – on the water. Yes, he walked on the water. Why? Because his focus was Jesus, and Him alone. When did he falter? When he looked down at the water.

When I choose to look at circumstances or happenings around me, instead of God – I can be swept downstream. I can lose my footing; stumble; trip; fall.

When I choose to focus on God – thanking Him, counting His blessings, laughing, enjoying little things – there is peace in my soul.

“The whole of our life inside and out is to be absolutely haunted by the presence of God” (Oswald Chambers, June 2).

That’s why I continue to count the gifts that God gives me – each day, I write down one or two or sometimes more, gifts with which God has blessed me.

That is my focus – SEEING Him.

Ann Voskamp took the dare to count to 1000 in her book One Thousand Gifts. I am now counting to 2000. Counting these gifts helps me focus on GOD – leading me closer to being haunted by Him.

“If we are haunted by God, nothing else can get in, no cares, no tribulation, no anxieties. … To be haunted by God is to have an effective barricade against all the onslaughts of the enemy” (Oswald Chambers, June 2).

Counting Gifts

                        Thanking Him

                                                Praising Him

All these things lead to FOCUSING on God.

I want to be HAUNTED by God.

Do you?

“Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!” (Philippians 4:4-5, The Message).

Continuing to count the gifts – counting to 2000; I am at 1451

      • buying plants for pots – yellows, purples and whites (deer proof?? we’ll see)
      • inspiration for InscribeOnline post
      • rain for the farmers – all day (can’t plant yet)
      • local home show – meeting everyone from town
      • reacquaintance with a wonderful prayer-filled believer
      • sunshine this morning
      • remembering to focus on God
      • sweet granddaughter hugs
      • sweet grandson smiles and chats
      • watching my daughter do up her daughter’s hair for dance recital

Dance Recital Hairdo

      • putting slippers on my granddaughter at recital
      • great recital
      • wonderful dinner with family
      • a friend who ran a beautiful UCW service at church
      • rain again – but good for farmers
      • getting ready for Write! Canada – I think I like promotion
      • donations for VIBE coming in
      • people willing to help with VIBE
      • new sponsored child – Marie – from Wellington Orphanage in Sierre Leone

Marie

One of My Pots

      • call from son and they are coming up in a couple of weeks
      • making stuffed turtles for conference
      • remembering how to sew
      • sewing machine worked
      • seeing a deer on our walk – very close to roadside but no camera
      • Snowball resting after a hard day at play

Snowball Relaxing

      • my happy mess

My Happy Mess

      • Cleaning up my mess – husband is pleased
      • finishing up details for Write!Canada
      • planning Mom’s committal service for Saturday
      • a great event put on by Women’s Day Together – Carol Kent
      • another great study on looking at our fear of rejection from Moving From Fear to Freedom


Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has completed a children’s book called Tadeo Turtle. She is the watercolour illustrator.

GIFT – Five Minute Fridays

Gift

I think the best gift of all is the gift of life. Having my own children has blessed our lives. Having grandchildren doubles the blessings. As we watch each child choose a mate, and then decide to have children themselves puts joy in my heart.

This March our youngest daughter gave birth to a sweet baby boy. I had the pleasure to be at their home for one month – 2 weeks leading up to the birth (baby decided to not enter on the date predicted) and 2 weeks after baby boy’s arrival. Such sweetness, little mouth, soft skin and cuddles.

God’s gift to us – life. Do we take our lives for granted? Do we enjoy each minute? Do we listen to God as He speaks into our hearts?

How do we thank Him? Do you thank Him for everything – for being with you through hard time and good times?

I loved reading Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts as it has led me on a journey to seek the gifts of God. They are all around. We only have to LOOK, HEAR, TASTE, SMELL, and TOUCH.

My five minutes are up. What do you think of when you hear the word – GIFT?

If you want to join The Gypsy Mama in her Five Minute Fridays read below.

Here are the rules:

Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.

We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.

On Fridays we write like we believe we can fly. Won’t you join us? (<—Tweet this!)

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.


HARD EUCHARISTEO

Hard Eucharisteo

by Jan Cox

In many of the past posts we have talked about prayer in all circumstances. This week I learned the practical reasons for this.

Last week my husband’s van collided with another van at an intersection. He had a green light and had started into the intersection as another van ran through the red light on the cross street. Our van spun around and the airbags deployed. Wayne broke his sternum and two ribs. He spent two days in hospital and is now recovering at home here in Arizona. We believe it will take 4-8 weeks to recover.

From the time I learned of the accident (the police called me) to this point I have been thanking God for being in every circumstance. I remembered that thanks is a verb. My prayers became thankful prayers.

There have been times with all the extra details of driving in unfamiliar traffic, listening to doctors, giving medicines and dealing with insurance companies that I would have a tendency to get uptight. But I keep focusing on Jesus – calling to Him to help me – and He is there, holding me steady and giving me peace.

I am so grateful that Ann Voskamp heard His voice and wrote One Thousand Gifts. I am so grateful I have read the book four times and have led a Bible study based on it.

To read it – to teach it – and then to live it – Eucharisteo – that word stuck in my mind.

From Ann’s words on qideas:

It [Eucharisteo] means thanksgiving in Greek. My life’s struggling to pronounce it, that word that’s set like the unexpected crown jewel in the center of Christianity, right there at the Last Supper before the apex of the Cross. When Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks for it, that’s the word for his giving thanks: eucharisteo. It’s like a language lesson: in that word for thanksgiving, eucharisteo, are the roots of charis, grace, and chara, joy. If you can take all as grace, give thanks for it, therein is always joy.  Eucharisteo –  grace, gratitude, joy – one word that God in flesh acted out when he took the cup.

©iStockphoto.com/Annette Wiechmann

Now as we head into Advent season (this Sunday is HOPE) I would encourage everyone to starting writing down the gifts that you see, hear, feel and touch this Christmas season. Let us give thanks to God in every situation and find His joy.

Here are other links for thankful ideas for Christmas and Advent.

With Thankful Hearts

Haliburton Pastoral Charge Thanksgiving Letter

Haliburton Pastoral Charge Advent Letter

Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Family Devotional

My Gratitude List for this week – I have skipped over many to be able to write this week’s list. I am counting and up to 689. This is a long list but it has been a long week.

  • Hard Eucharisteo – Wayne is t-boned in an accident, broken sternum and bones
  • Friends who pray
  • Family and friends who care
  • A friend who loaned me his car to take Wayne to the hospital
  • Car insurance and medical insurance
  • Your calming presence in my life
  • The gift of prayer
  • Knowing You are in charge
  • My daughter’s presence here in Arizona during this time
  • Kind, caring doctors at the first hospital
  • A nurse who brought me an orange and another who brought me a hearty salad
  • A warm blanket for me
  • A TV to pass the time while we waited for test results (5 hours)
  • Good doctors watching Wayne for any complications
  • Safety on the roads to the airport and hospital
  • Arriving safely back to our home in AZ with Wayne
  • All the prayers from friends and family
  • Energy to continue when I just want to lie down
  • My daughter safely back home in Canada
  • Wayne comfortable on medications
  • Wayne’s laughter even when it hurts
  • Walks around the lake
  • Snowball’s new tricks
  • A good book to just pick up and read
  • Morning time to think and pray and rest in Him
  • So many email friends praying
  • A nap that restores my energy
  • Another friends’ car to use – a “red box”
  • Pain meds for Wayne
  • A rental car
  • Regular routines
  • Learning the steps to a dance in tap
  • Finishing an easy Sudoku
  • Remembering that it is not about me – instead to serve
  • My shoulder feels almost normal
  • Jesus – to call upon
  • Scripture to keep me strong and at peace
  • A replacement vehicle for the one totaled (more mileage but insurance money paid for it)
  • Trust and belief in God
  • Writing all this down
  • Growing in the knowledge of God

Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has written a children’s book in which she is also the watercolour illustrator. She hopes to publish it some day.

A SANCTUARY OF TIME

A Sanctuary of Time

Chapter Four in Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts is entitled “A Sanctuary of Time”. This chapter is so packed full of wisdom and holiness.

Here are a few nuggets to ponder over:

“Life is a Gift”

“Time is life – and if I want the fullest life, I need to find the fullest time.”

Mornings for me were fraught with panic, trying to do so much in a little time. I never gave myself enough time to do what needed to be done, so therefore I ended up stressed and bad-tempered.

I love Ann’s words, “life is not an emergency”. I want to enjoy each moment, live it to the full. Even in writing this I am not stressing that it has to be done by tomorrow morning. I am letting the words flow by themselves.

As the past week has shown me – I need to start each day with God. As I talked about Wandering, then First, then Grafted – I have taught myself or God is teaching me that life is living – breathing each moment without tension – because I can rely on Him; because I can breathe in His promises; because I can live each moment grateful for little things.

I have reached over 100 in my gratitude list and I love to thank God for each gift He gives me. Today it was a little walk to the mailbox – light wind blowing, trees greening up, and the sun shone.

We do have the choice to be fully attentive to life – and we get there by getting into the right habit of giving thanks for each moment.

Are you aware of living? Are you present in each moment? Can you see the beauty of “right now”?

WHAT PRAYER IS NOT

What Prayer is not vis-à-vis What Prayer is

by Peter Black

Prayer is not one’s presenting a ‘honey-do list’ to the ‘man upstairs’

What is it, then?

Prayer is the breathing of my spirit.

It is the interaction of my spiritual being–the essence of who I am, with the essence of who God is.

It is worship.

Prayer involves my highest thought.

It receives inspiration from the Scriptures through the working of the Holy Spirit, and gains strength from my experience of God’s grace.

Prayer includes my expression of deepest gratitude.

It encompasses my wants and wishes, my cares and concerns, but especially the needs of others. Above all, prayer considers what God’s purpose and will might be in any given matter.

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Some suggested refs: Heb. 11:6; Rom. 10:17; John 4:23-24; 1 Cor. 6:17;

Rom. 8:26-27. Also John 5:14-15; Jam. 4:1-3, and Jam.1:16-17.

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