Have I told you that I love my prayer partners? I love that we've met together at least once a week to pray for the past 15 years. I love that they know the good, bad & ugly about me and still want to be with me! I love that they are open books. I love how much they love God. I just love them.
This morning we met again to pray. We were all in the doldrums about Christmas. We just weren't experiencing it like we wanted to. I told them that I had decided to come to God and ask for the gift of a simple Christmas with meaning. And then I told them that I had experienced a flashback of Christmases past at the stable Sunday night. (See...I told you they don't read my blog! ha! I guess they get enough of me on Tuesday mornings!!)
And then it happened. I began praying and pouring out my heart to God. I asked Him for this gift. He created us emotionally, so I asked Him to pour out on us the emotions we wanted so we might experience all we could this season. One of my prayer partners told us that she began seeing a movie in her mind as we prayed. (What is the deal with movies??) She said that she began to see all of our pasts--pasts filled with fear. And she saw trophies of grace that we began polishing and holding up to God as a Christmas gift to Him. One trophy was of a redeemed marriage. Another was of financial restitution. And yet another was of submission. These were all things God had worked in each of our lives. We were overcome with gratitude as we did just that...lifted them up as a gift to God. It was His idea, His work...and yet we were giving them back to God....all polished up. It's kind of like when you give money to your child to go buy you a Christmas gift from "him." We brought our gifts to God this morning.
And isn't that what pleases Him? He loves for us to talk about His work of redemption. He loves for glory to be brought to Himself. He loves when His kids are delighted.
As we brought our gifts, I realized something else. I tend to focus on what is unfinished in my life instead of praising God for the work He has done. I become an ungrateful child that only focuses on what she didn't get. One of my friends said that she didn't focus on the completed works God had done in her life because she felt like it was prideful. But if our motive is to give God glory, pride isn't involved. It's no different than if I give one of my children a gift and all they can talk about is what they wanted but didn't get. Don't we all like to be thanked---and to feel as if we pleased our children with our gifts?
So does God. We discovered that this morning as we thanked and praised Him for these trophies of grace. Everything changed. Instantly! As we looked at one another, we had huge smiles on our faces. We were suddenly aware of the smells of Christmas in the room. We were overcome with gratitude and love. By bringing our gift of praise, God blessed us with a gift. He filled our hearts with wonder.
What trophy of grace can you bring Him? Polish it up and lift it up to Him with a heart full of praise! And get ready for a heart-change. I'd feel privileged if you'd share so we can praise Him with you.
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant; their faces shall never blush for shame or be confused. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The Angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him [who revere and worship Him with awe] and each of them He delivers. O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him. O fear the Lord, you His saints [revere and worship Him]! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear. The young lions lack food and suffer hunger, but they who seek (inquire of and require) the Lord [by right of their need and on the authority of His Word], none of them shall lack any beneficial thing. Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you to revere and worshipfully fear the Lord.