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Pray with Gratitude

“Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness…

Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  Psa 34

I am grateful every day that God is greater than my need.  It happened three decades ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  We faced Missy’s scoliosis surgery with confidence in our Faithful God.  We praised Him before, during, and after, until… it started all over again.  Back to the hospital; back to a second surgery; this time a deeper, longer cut from neck to the lower back.  Shocked and exhausted, I literally broke apart inside.  “Why Lord?  Why would you put my little girl through this?  She is innocent.  She loves you with a pure heart.  And I have served You!  I have trusted You!  And I have praised You in the gates, but now You have turned on me.”  Those words led to a darkened heart; a grieving spirit; and an inward gloom that swallowed me whole. 

I remember sitting in the rocking chair in the hospital room staring at her little body for hours until the darkness of the room matched my inner gloom.  I refused to pray; to allow anyone to visit.  This pain was mine, and I held on tight to it, believing that if God wasn’t listening, then I would take care of her all on my own.

Somewhere in the silence, I heard Psalm 34:1 repeat in my mind: “I will bless the Lord at all times.  His praise will continually be in my mouth.”  This was the verse we jointly proclaimed over circumstance every week with the wives of unsaved husbands in my Bible study class.  It grew louder and continuous, and I began waving my hands in the air to try and chase it away.  Finally, I spit the words out just to clear my head.  Once I did, anger deflated as the declaration rolled out, and I could not stop repeating it.  Soon I was singing loudly, “I will bless the Lord and give Him glory.”  The praise roared out of me and the darkness was defeated. 

I began to weep, first in repentance for being angry at the God Who loved me so; then in gratitude for the God Who waited patiently and now held me close; for His patience, companionship, and the faithfulness to chase me through the darkness with the light of His love.

The intimacy I experienced with the Savior that night was as powerful as the first night of my salvation.  His love is genuine, faithful, unconditional.  And you can trust Him even now. 

Pray through these verses and allow the praise to overtake the stress, the anger, the pain.  Sing unto Him, for He loves to hear your voice!

Gratitude because He answers prayer and frees me from fear.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me.

He freed me from all my fears.

Gratitude because I never need walk in shame; His mercies are new every morning.

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;

no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

Gratitude because He listens and answers my prayer.

In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;

He saved me from all my troubles.    Psalm 34:4-6

Always Expect Amazing,

Diane Strack     

www.shelovesoutloud.org       

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