After we'd said our nightly prayers, I didn't feel quite ready for sleep so I read for a bit. As I got up to tend to my nightly routine prior to shutting out the light, I happened to glance at the photo I keep on my bedside table. It is one of the few photos I have of my husband and myself together. This photo was taken last autumn when we went to the beach.
Looking at that photo I was suddenly moved to tears of gratitude. What a blessed thing this marriage has been and how wonderful it has been to find myself in such a relationship after the loneliness and hurt I experienced in my first marriage. I felt moved to pray my gratitude to God for the blessing of this man who shares my life. And then I felt overwhelming emotion as I envisioned the many blessings God has given me. I wept with gratitude. John was sound asleep, and there was nothing to distract me from pouring out my heartfelt gratitude and as I did I felt myself drawing nearer and nearer to God. I know what I was once upon a time, and I know where I am since confessing my sinful nature and asking for the salvation Christ gave. I was humbled to the point of feeling my heart overflow as I looked down the years...
Then that still small voice came: "I enjoy being praised for the love I've shown."
That stopped me for a moment.
You see, the past couple of weeks have been pretty tense and there have been numerous things that were/are cause for worry. I'd spent plenty of time in prayer, sharing my heart with God, casting my cares upon him, pleading for understanding, but I hadn't in all that time spent a moment in simple praise for the good things He has done. I was all about the things I wanted Him to change, to fix, to cover, for myself and others but I'd not thanked Him for the blessings in my life, the things He'd given freely.
I spent a bit of time in study this afternoon, looking up various commentaries on praise and it's value to God. Quite a few people, many in pastoral positions, decry God's desire for praise. They are certain we mere humans have nothing worthy of giving to God and are nothing short of heretics if we think we have anything to offer.
This is my viewpoint: I spent an hour last night praising God for the blessings He has given me. I felt an intimacy with Him I didn't experience in my prayer or study time. That still small voice came in the midst of my tears of gratitude as I prayed my heart. "I enjoy being praised for the love I've shown."