It’s common practice to teach your kids to say ‘please’ and then ‘thank you’ when they have requests. It’s considered proper protocol. And when talking to adults, it is. But with God, things are a little bit different.
God has a protocol for how He wants to be approached. And it starts with thanksgiving:
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.
With God, ‘thank you’ should always come before ‘please.’ The first thing that needs to come out of my mouth in prayer and worship needs to be praise for who God is and what He has done. Not just instructions for what I want or even need Him to do.
Thank you is the key that opens the door to God’s house. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but more than anything, it’s about perspective.
If you thank God for everything before you ask Him for anything, it makes you realize you deserve nothing. It gives you the worldview that but for the grace of God, you would be in hell. And in turn, it makes you even more thankful because you’re not. And because God still answers your prayers.
Additionally, starting with ‘thank you’ is just practical. When we start with praise, we establish the goodness and greatness of God right off the bat. Now all of our subsequent prayers and complaints can be answered by a good and great God who can both respond to us and who wants to.
It’s impossible to be self-absorbed and God-conscious at the same time. Realign your perspective in prayer today.
Start with ‘thank you.’ And then move on to ‘please.’
Originally posted July 26, 2011