Prayer is meant to be an intimate act between man and God that is only made possible with the communion brought forth by the Holy Spirit. In fact, all three persons of the trinity are acting in prayer. We are praying to the Father, in the Spirit, and through Jesus (the Son). This is such a beautiful picture: when we pray we are interacting with God so intimately that we are experiencing the entire trinity of God. Regardless, we are always experiencing the trinity (as they are all one in perfect community), but this truthful imagery is beyond precious. So, with this in mind, we need to turn to God with a thankful heart, which succeeds adoration and confession, in intimate prayer.

Nehemiah 1 is a great example of what true, intimate prayer looks like. He consistently demonstrates adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication in the spirit of prayer. 

“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, ‘O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.’

Now I was cupbearer to the king.”

Nehemiah 1:4-11 ESV

We cannot leave a prayer simply at confession and adoration. This is because Jesus came to die for our atrocious sinfulness and depravity. Instead, we are to immediately turn to the Lord in a spirit of thanksgiving for the mighty works He has done for all of mankind. He sent His righteous and holy Son to save the world… to save you. With this in mind, we are to turn to God with an honest and thankful heart of praise and worship.

Within prayer, thanksgiving may look like thanking God for all He’s done in your life. Shouldn’t we be doing this already though? Absolutely! In fact, we should always be in a spirit of thanksgiving because God has freed all of mankind from evil and darkness. God has forged the greatest love story of all time in pursuing the rebellious hearts of His children. So, the only true response we should be giving is kneeling before the Lord with an attitude of thankful praise and worship for all He has done.

Scripture Reading

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

    for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

    whom he has redeemed from trouble

and gathered in from the lands,

    from the east and from the west,

    from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,

    finding no way to a city to dwell in;

hungry and thirsty,

    their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

He led them by a straight way

    till they reached a city to dwell in.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

For he satisfies the longing soul,

    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,

    prisoners in affliction and in irons,

for they had rebelled against the words of God,

    and spurned the counsel of the Most High.

So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;

    they fell down, with none to help.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,

    and burst their bonds apart.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

For he shatters the doors of bronze

    and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways,

    and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; 

they loathed any kind of food,

    and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

    and he delivered them from their distress.

He sent out his word and healed them,

    and delivered them from their destruction.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,

    for his wondrous works to the children of man!

And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,

    and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”

Psalm 107:1-22 ESV

Application

  • How can you approach God with a spirit of thankfulness when you come to Him in prayer?
  • Do you take time thanking God for everything He has done for you? If not, do it!
  • What can you be thankful to God for in prayer?