Psalm 100:4 (NET1) 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give him thanks! Praise his name!
When I was a little girl, I was taught never to begin praying without confessing to God first or He wouldn’t hear (let alone answer) my prayers. My translation was that He was angry with me.
Of course there is truth to the fact that if we go to Him willful and stubborn, we need not expect Him to answer us in the way we hope.
But not all that long ago, I realized that the Bible tells us to enter His presence with thanksgiving.
What a difference that makes in my view of and feeling for God. As a child I felt like I better get it right at the beginning of my prayer or I was in trouble. I saw God as a strict disciplinarian who was standing over me making sure that I confessed every tiny detail of every single sin. Then…then…He might see His way clear to answer my prayers.
I don’t know that I was actually taught that way. Perhaps I took things too literally. Children often do. I carried that view of God well into my adult years.
But, the Bible says to come to Him with a heart of Thanksgiving! When I remember to enter his presence with thanksgiving and praise, it changes everything. No one has to remind me to confess my failings because as I thank Him, I realize I am in the presence of a loving God who has my very best in mind and desires to bless me.
Of course, that doesn’t mean He will spare me all of life’s struggles. It does mean that He comforts me in the most excruciating times. He brings me through those times with a stronger, healthier perspective about life, about Him and…about others and myself. How could I not be thankful for His blessing of strength and peace and stability, when on my own I would be crushed and even destroyed?
How can I not be thankful for His amazing gift of beauty in nature all around me…the softness of a baby’s cheek and the sparkle in my husband’s eyes?
He has blessed me materially and relationally and taken me on the paths that ultimately will most satisfy me and allow me to live out my customized God-given purpose.
Confession of sin? When I enter His presence with thanksgiving, I can’t help but recognize how many times a day I fail Him…this One who never fails me.
And still…He loves me!