It seems like I’m quick to pray when times get tough.
I have spent a lot of time praying for friends who are going through difficult times. I’ve spent time praying for friends with cancer. I’ve spent time praying for Christians in difficult countries.
Sometimes, when things get really rough, some of us will get together and pray. Perhaps it’s at a church meeting, with some friends in a living room, or even over email. Bringing our requests to God is a wonderful thing.
I believe that God delights in answering prayer. I believe that he takes joy in the joy I find in a friend who is healed, or an impossible situation made possible.
But I believe God takes more delight in our words of Praise.
Psalm 147:11 – The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
There is a great story in Luke 17, about a group of lepers who call out to Jesus to have pity on them. All 10 of them demonstrate their faith by calling out for healing. They all listen and obey. But only one of them returns later to express gratitude. Jesus responds to his “thank you” by saying “Rise and go; your faith has made you well”.
That “Thank you” was a word of praise that set this lepers faith apart from his 9 counterparts.
I like to think that Jesus took pleasure in seeing these 10 men well and celebrating. But it is clear that the ultimate act of faith, in this story, was remember where the praise needed to be directed.
Maybe I need to put as much energy into saying “Thank you”, as I do in praying in the first place.
I’ve gathered in prayer with friends, for hours. Perhaps I need to follow that up more often with hours of saying “thank you”.