‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.’ Psalm 100.4
We would all love to sense more of the presence of God and this verse lays out the way to do so; it is thanksgiving that helps us enter into his presence. However, it’s likely that most of us begin our prayer times with our needs – and why not? After all, we are told in 1 Peter 5.7 that we should take all our anxiety to him because he cares about us. Yet this verse in the psalm suggests that our needs are not where we should start; instead we should begin with thanksgiving.
As the verse goes on we learn more about this thanksgiving, which involves praising God’s name. Praising the name of God is about giving honour to all that the Bible reveals about him. He is our ‘Abba, Father’, the God of all comfort, gracious and compassionate and the revelation of God in Jesus. Dwelling upon these truths is where prayer should begin.
If you begin your prayers by simply bringing your needs to him, then they will be the focus of your prayer time. However, if you begin by looking at God, your vision of him will grow and you will step into the presence of the God you are praising and proclaiming.