I am the intecessor team captain for the worship ministry leadership team at my church. That simply means I get the prayer requests from the worship pastor and those on his team and send them out to the rest of the prayer team. And of course, I pray for the requests, too. Something that God has led me to do with this emails, is to start them off with what I call the “devotional thought for the week”. I just sent this one out this week and thought I would share it with my blog-friends.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His;
We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
Give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100 (NIV)
I know this is the traditional passage to hear at Thanksgiving. I have heard it so often that I have taken it for granted. That’s pretty bad – taking a passage about giving thanks for granted – isn’t it? However, lately God has been showing me some stuff about giving thanks to Him and when I read this passage in the NIV, some words jumped out at me that also changed my perspective.
I ask the Lord for a lot of things when I pray. From the “God-things” (like my dad being miraculously healed) to the “mundane” (like keep us safe and well today). What God is showing me though, is that He takes every request seriously. When I have had a good day and everyone is well, I am guilty of taking it for granted. But when I’ve had a bad day, or when one of us has gotten hurt or sick, I complain. God is convicting me that I need to be mindful of His hand orchestrating things in response to what I prayed for. Not because I’m all that great or because my prayers are all that great, but because it’s what He does. He listens to the prayers of His people. So, when I pray for safety and we have an uneventful, safe day, I need to express my gratitude to Him for answering that prayer.(you would think that being a cop’s wife I would never take our family’s safety for granted.) And when we have a bad day dealing with sickness or injury – or the fender-bender yesterday, I need to trust that God was still listening when I prayed for safety/health and therefore He must have some greater reason for allowing us to deal with these incidents. And I still need to come before Him with gladness and thanksgiving, trusting that He will work all of it for our good.
All of that to say – what God is showing me is that we are the sheep of His pasture. Sheep who are totally dependent on their Shepherd for every little thing we receive, and we/I need to thank Him accordingly. My life should be a song of thanksgiving to God – for the good things, for the not-so-good things, and even for the down-right hard things; for the miraculous God things, and for the everyday mundane things.
The other thing I noticed when I read this in the NIV today, is the first word in verse 2 – “Worship the Lord with gladness”. In the KJV, the word right there is “Serve the Lord with gladness”. It goes back to what I was trying to say last week about making my life an act of worship. I looked up that word in the Strong’s Concordance. It has a lot of words there to define this word. Some of them that jumped out at me were: to work, to serve, compel, do, keep, be wrought, worshipper. So to worship the Lord means to work, serve, do, keep, compel. That implies something that I am continuously doing, not just at church, but also when I am at home doing my “mundane” stay-at-home-mom things. My life must become a sacrifice of praise – of worship. And when I have the right perspective on my total dependence on God and thank Him for it accordingly, it’s much easier for my life to become consumed with worship.