Some people like to use different prayer models to facilitate their prayer time. Some use the acronym ABC for Abiding, Believing & Confronting. Some use the ACTS acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. And some use the Lord’s Prayer as their model. Allow me to share a scripture to help order thanksgiving and praise in prayer.
I’ve always loved taking scripture, breaking it down and making practical application out of it. I will come across a scripture that I’ve read many times, and suddenly, I will see it very differently, very practically. I’m sure we all have moments like these.
This happened to me recently while studying a scripture I often use when speaking on prayer. Psalm 100:4 (KJV) says,
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
This scripture is directing us to thank and praise God. It is directing us to the gates and to the courts. Up until this moment, I had thought of praise and thanksgiving as basically the same thing, just like I’ve believed that courts and gates were the same place in this scripture. But they are not the same expression or the same designation.
Could it be that if the gates gets us onto the premises, then it’s the courts that get us into the King’s presence? Thanksgiving and praise are two totally separate activities in prayer. Not only are they separate, but there may also be in an expected order – thanksgiving, then praise. When an angel took Ezekiel to the temple in a vision, it twice states they entered through the gates before entering into the court. In a vision, the angel could have taken Ezekiel straight into the courts, but he took him through the gates first. (Ezekiel 8)
Interestingly, this scripture not only gives direction, it also gives instruction. This scripture says “enter His gates with thanksgiving…give thanks unto Him”. Thanksgiving is easy because it is self-explanatory. God does something, answers a prayer or blesses us and we thank Him.
When it says, “and into His courts with praise…bless His name” it means that I may thank God for providing in a circumstance, but I will bless His name Jehovah – Jireh in praise. Thanksgiving is about what God has done for us; praise is all about Who God is. When we bless the name Jehovah-Rophi (Healer), Yahweh (Present and Available), Lord of Armies, Comforter, Savior, and Restorer, God will inhabit the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3).
Note that it was in the temple courts that the frantic parents of the boy Jesus found Him after being separated. When they inquired about why He had stayed back, Jesus replied that He had to be about His Father’s business. May I suggest that when we need to do business with God, we enter the gates with thanksgiving, but come into His courts with praise? Bless His name!