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Praying with Purpose and Presence of Mind

When I was asked to write an article for the bulletin many months ago, I was eager to contribute. However, as I sat down to think about what to write on, a stark reality dawned upon me: What could I possibly contribute as a young Christian of barely 3 years old, that my brethren do not already know or have not thought of before?

I drew blanks even as the weeks flew by, and my Untitled Document on Google Sheets continued to remain empty save for the blinking cursor. It was not until the end of a long, challenging, 60+hr week at work, when I’d decided to treat myself to my recent favourite meal at McDonald’s (a double fillet-o-fish with the seasonal black pepper cheese sauce) that I thought of my topic.

Giving thanks before my meals has become a part of my daily routine, as it should. But many times, whether it is the rush of an after-lunch meeting, or the desire to fall asleep quickly after a long day at work, giving thanks would be but a task to complete before the eating began.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Col 4:2, ESV)

That dinner was slightly different, however. It was finally Friday after many rushed meals. I had survived! And in that moment, I was truly grateful. Grateful that I had a job that challenges me to grow, that I had the means to reward myself with food that I enjoy, that I still had the time to sit quietly and have a moment to myself to reflect. I thought back to my dad dropping me a text earlier in the week: “Mom is worried you’re not eating a full dinner after long days at work.” Thankfully, I had, if not I would be chewed out by my wife from halfway across the planet and nagged at until I had finally eaten properly. I am fortunate to have family, near and far, that care so much for my well-being.

It might seem a little over dramatic to reflect on so much over a simple fillet-o-fish, but in that moment, it was a genuine giving of thanks for everything God has provided me in order for me to enjoy such a meal. That moment was a pivotal reminder that I shouldn’t be praying to God – whether before meals, when I wake up, or before I go to bed, just because I should – but because I genuinely have so many things to be thankful for. These are things that were lost to me temporarily after several long days at work trying to carve a place for myself in an increasingly competitive job market.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:16-18, ESV)

Since then, I have strived to always slow down when I pray, and to take the time to find the right words to express my gratitude and converse with God. Undoubtedly, I still don’t do this enough. Penning this down is another way of reminding myself of the importance of praying with purpose and presence of mind.

I hope that this simple and brief sharing has been edifying for you, whether fellow Christians young or old, or non-Christians looking to learn more about the God we worship. Everyone has things we can be grateful for in any moment, if only we take the time to recognise them.

What are you grateful for right now?


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