A little more Off the Wall Dec. 4, 2008

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and we are preparing for Christmas weeks away, something has been gnawing away in my mind little by little. A matter of fact, a member of our church emailed me one day and asked to give some thought to the fact that we should be praising God more and not always asking him for whatever is on our minds.

I don’t know of an individual alive that doesn’t have need of something for his loved ones or himself. I can only surmise, you, the reader, can identify with what I am saying.

As many of you know, I am part of a prayer chain that circulates wants and praises to our Lord around the world daily. As requests come to my attention, I will compile them and send them on over the Internet. They will be forwarded to people throughout the United States, Canada and even overseas including Iraq, and who knows where else. That is the beauty of the chain. There are many links. Conscientious people will turn to God for the desires in their hearts.

What the gentleman brought to my attention is the fact that just maybe, instead of spending a great deal of time asking Him for healings, guidance and forgiveness, all requirements of a committed relationship, we should take more time actually praising Him for the wonderful things He has done for us throughout the many years we have lived throughout our journey of life.

Many of us are blessed with the ability to see, for instance. Have you thanked God recently for sight? You know, there are people who don’t have vision, whose blindness has been with them most of their life.

Every direction we look we see something. For instance, as I look around my bedroom, I see books, mail, electronic equipment, clothes and my kids’ pictures. None of these creations would have been possible if God had not had a hand in the creation and manufacturing of them. From the moment we get up, to the time we shut out the lights at night upon retiring after the day, we have encountered endless discoveries, all credited to His creation for us. Think about it, or maybe don’t. It is too awesome for a finite brain such as ours to comprehend. Look how much we take for granted.

As a Catholic, each week, I receive Him into my person in the species of His body and His blood. I am imbibing the very person who created yours truly, and everything around me, including those with whom I worship and others who may lean toward another persuasion or don’t believe in Him at all. WOW!!!

One day I sent out prayers on the chain, and a fellow responded by stating, “Is this some kind of record?” he asked. I never gave thought to keeping prayers down to a minimum or seeing how many I could accumulate for one day. If requests come in, I send them out most the time. I have to admit, because of my “heavy schedule as a retiree,” sometimes I get backlogged and can’t always forward them on at a certain time, but I will try to do my very best.

Here is what I believe God is laying on my heart.

“As much as you are asking me to heal my children, could you give equal time, if not a little more time, to worshipping, praising and thanking me for all I have done for you?”

Now, you may think we have a selfish God if this is the way you think He feels. But, in my opinion, put yourself in His shoes. Here are some examples of prayer submissions.

“Dear God. Please heal my friend Andy. He has a bad cold. Grace has gout. Please restore her health. Marty had his appendix removed. Help him get better.” I must point out that we do have updates whereby we mention praises for His wonderful healing.

I think we as followers of God, whether Christians or Jews, should spend more quiet time thanking, listening, and praising our creator than actually asking him for favors.

One scripture verse and a hymn come to mind - “Ask and you shall receive…” and “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." How often do we carry out the latter?

It only makes sense that the faithful should give a concentrated effort to being more thankful for everything that happens in their lives. If we don’t increase our awareness of His love, we will never be able to realize His goodness and thank Him for His gifts.

Article by:
Paul J. Volkmann November 10, 2008
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