My prayer life changed dramatically a few years ago when I began to heed these words: “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise…” Psalm 100:4 (NIV)
Rather than dumping into prayer with the distressing matter most pressing on my heart, I began to consciously start each prayer with thanksgiving and praise. This simple act immediately changed the distressing matter to a Christ-addressing matter, relieving the pressure on my heart immensely. The entering with thanksgiving led into praising in His courts, and the praising in His courts led back into thanksgiving for the answers to the matters most pressing upon my heart. Ahh, God, how wise Thou art.
Over time I began to think about the “gates” I was entering in each prayer. Gates secure boundaries, keeping some things in and some things out. I recently installed a gate across my driveway to secure my partially fenced yard for Maggie the Boxer. Sadly, Maggie only stayed with me for a week and now the gates are left wide-open so I can more easily drive my car in. Nevertheless, the gates are there if I ever need them. Good to know.
Open gates can be grandiose gestures of “Welcome!” Closed and guarded gates are foreboding barriers to destinations. When I “enter His gates with thanksgiving” I picture Jesus as the Gate, arms wide open, welcoming me into His embrace. “I am the Gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…” John 10:9 (NIV). I am indescribably thankful for this Gate above all gates. I feel those wide-open welcoming arms around me and I just melt. Then the Gate closes behind me, guarded with all the power of the universe, keeping me safe forevermore. Praise the Lord! Mmm, mmm. I love the Gates of Thanksgiving that lead into the Courts of Praise!
Still, sometimes the gates get neglected, overgrown with the cares of this world. Even muted, their quiet beauty welcomes. Slightly ajar, they beg rediscovery. Majesty dwells here and waits for you.
Have a blessed day.
Photo is copyright Richard Smith. You can view more of his amazing work at this link: https://crated.com/art/62307/the-old-gate-by-rgsmith?size=14%7C11&product=PO