Keeping on the same path, working off Ravi Zacharias's sermon series (these links are to the same sermon, broken up into 15 minute portions, in case your drive to work isn't quite 30 minutes long part 1 part 2 part 3 and part 4) on prayer life 'tudes. Today's 'tude is gratitude. Right now, that's a huge one for me personally. This month marks a year after my family and I packed up everything we could, and took off 1500 miles from anything and anyone we knew. Now, we are in the process of moving to a bigger house, which is always a pain, packing, cleaning, arranging, dealing with utilities, schools, post office, ect. But it is absolutely amazing to look back at this last year and see that it definitely wasn't easy, and it wasn't always fun, but through the whole thing we made it. Not on our own power or resources or abilities, but because God was watching over all of us the whole time. That inspires a great deal of gratitude, looking around and realizing that even through what seemed rough times, there was a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs, and clothes on our backs. Sometimes we weren't sure if they would be there tomorrow, or the next week, or next month, but they always were there.
Whenever I see talk of prayer and gratitude, I always think about how unbelievably blessed we are in America. Our definition of poverty and being poor is miles and miles above so much of the rest of the world's definition, it's frightening. Our definitions of repression and persecution are so many miles above what others in the world face, it's equally disturbing. I'm certainly not downplaying the plights that people face in the U.S. It's just so much different worrying if the food stamps will stretch to the end of the month than worrying about if the bag of rice will stretch until enough work can be found to earn the money for another one. It's so much different worrying that you might not get a promotion because your boss doesn't like your faith than worrying that someone is going to break down your door with a machete and a machine gun because they don't like your faith. It would be real easy to segue into a whole lot of political commentary here, especially given some current events and activities going on right now, but that isn't the point of any of this, so I'll bite my tongue and save that rant for later.
But beyond any of these, believers in America or anywhere else in the world have something underlying all of this to be grateful for, and to carry that gratitude into their prayer life. Regardless of our worldly conditions, we can be grateful that there is a place reserved for us in Heaven, and almost as important, the strength and direction to get us through this life until the time to move into that new house comes for us. So, right now we have the bricks of certitude, solitude, and gratitude in the foundation of our prayer life. Next week, the last 'tude, and a bit on how to put all of these together to make our prayer time a time of communion, communication, and growing. If you just can't wait to find out, follow the links at the beginning of the column, and listen for yourself.