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Praise and Thanksgiving as a Key to Prayer-II
Psalm 40

As usual we had a time of sharing praise and prayer concerns in church yesterday, and as usual I had more success getting people to share prayer concerns than to share reasons for thanksgiving. As far as I remember the only thing anyone was thankful for was waking up and being alive that morning. Being alive is a great gift to give praise for, but it doesn’t count as thanksgiving as the Old Testament understands it. Thanksgiving relates to particular blessings that God has given us, as when we talk once a year about harvest thanksgiving or when we get children to write thank-you notes after Christmas. Moreover, in both those cases there is a link between prayer and thanksgiving. We pray for a good harvest, and if we get one, we thank God for answering our prayer. A child asks a grandparent for some vitally important game and writes to say thank-you on receiving it. I have known one or two people keep a prayer journal where they note what they are praying for; they can then look back over the entries and be struck by how many of the prayers have been answered—which encourages further prayer...

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