Around the Thanksgiving holiday, we often hear people talk about the need to be thankful for all of the blessings God has provided. What we don’t tend to hear, however, is the need to pray to God for those blessings in the first place. Jesus said, “For everyone who asks receives… Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:7-11)
It seems to me our celebration of Thanksgiving is also a reminder of our complete dependency on God. Asking God in prayer for blessings, though sometimes seen as selfishness, is actually a sign of humility and faith. Gratitude is the natural response of those who know from whom it is that all their blessings flow.
A number of years ago, we did a book study of “The Prayer of Jabez.” In that book, there is a wonderful reminder of our need to bring everything to God in prayer. It goes like this:
“Mr. Jones dies and goes to heaven. Peter is waiting at the gates to give him a tour. Amid the splendor of golden streets, beautiful mansions, and choirs of angels that Peter shows him, Mr. Jones notices an odd looking building. He thinks it looks like an enormous warehouse – it has no windows and only one door. But when he asks to see inside, Peter hesitates. ‘You really don’t want to see what’s in there,’ he tells the new arrival.
‘Why would there be any secrets in heaven?’ Jones wonders. ‘What incredible surprise could be waiting for me in there?’ When the official tour is over he’s still wondering, so he asks again to see inside the structure. Finally, Peter relents. When the apostle opens the door, Mr. Jones almost knocks him over in his haste to enter. It turns out the enormous building is filled with row after row of shelves, floor to ceiling, each stacked neatly with white boxes tied with red ribbons. ‘These boxes all have names on them,’ Mr. Jones mused aloud. Then turning to Peter he asks, ‘Do I have one?’ ‘Yes, you do,’ Peter says as he tries to guide Mr. Jones back outside. ‘Frankly,’ Peter says, ‘If I were you…’ But Mr. Jones is already dashing toward the ‘J’ aisle to find his box. Peter follows, shaking his head. He catches up with Mr. Jones just as he is slipping the red ribbon off his box and popping the lid. Looking inside, Jones has a moment of instant recognition, and he lets out a deep sigh like the ones Peter has heard so many times before. Because there in Mr. Jones’ box are all the blessings God wanted to give to him while he was on earth… but Mr. Jones never asked.”
God also has many blessings prepared for you. Don’t miss out on that which God wants to provide! Be constant in prayer and worship and thanksgiving. Our God is indeed an awesome God!