Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
The psalmist reminds us to enter our area of life with praise, always praising and giving thanks to the Holy God. We should put aside other worries, other fears, other doubts, and other concerns. For the Lord is good towards us with a love that endures through all generations.
The Minnesota storyteller Kevin Kling was born with a birth defect�his left arm was disabled and much shorter than his right. Then, in his early 40s, a motorcycle accident nearly killed him and paralyzed his healthy right arm. While he was in the hospital recovering from the accident, Kling learned a life-changing lesson about "the three phases of prayer."
In the first phase of prayer, we pray to get things from God. In the second phase, we pray to get out of things. While he was in rehab for his accident, Kling learned the third phase of prayer�giving thanks to God. Kling says:
I'd been through many surgeries during my six week stay in the hospital. And each day, I would ride the elevator to the ground floor and try and take a walk. That was my job. 9/11 had happened the week before. And as our country was entering trauma, I was living one. After my walk, my wife Mary and I went into the gift shop, and she asked if I wanted an apple. She said they looked really good. Now, I hadn't tasted food in over a month � I lost a lot of weight because food had no appeal. So I said no, but she persisted. Come on. Try it. So finally, I said all right. And I took a bite. And for some reason, that was the day flavor returned, and that powerful sweetness rushed from that apple. Oh, it was incredible.
I started to cry, cry for the first time in years. The tears flowed and as the anesthesia and antibiotics flushed through my tears, it burned my eyes. And between the sweetness of that apple and the burning for my tears, it felt so good to be alive. I blurted out, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this life." And that's when my prayers shifted, again, to giving thanks.
[Kevin Kling, "Prayer, Once a Last Resort, Now a Habit," NPR (1-10-07); On Being, "The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into," American Public Media (3-7-13);]