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Praise and thanksgiving is the proper way to approach God. God desires to give you your heart's desire (Ps. 37:4), but He can't answer attitudes of selfishness and arrogance.
Many years ago there was a missionary to China who was living in constant defeat because of the overwhelming struggles he faced on the mission field. He prayed and prayed and prayed about his situation, and he repeatedly asked God why he wasn't seeing any results to his missionary efforts. But no answer came. It seemed that depression and discouragement flanked him on every side. Everything he touched seemed to turn to defeat. No answer seemed to come from heaven.

Finally, he decided to leave his mission station and go further into the interior of the country to another mission station so he could seek God without distraction. He determined to get on his face before God and pray until he got an answer.

Does that sound familiar? I've heard people say, "I'm just going to take off and go to the woods (or the barn or the mountains or somewhere) and pray until I get my answer!"

When this missionary arrived at the mission station in China's interior, he walked into the mission station, and the first thing he noticed was a sign hanging on the wall that immediately caught his attention. It said, "Try thanksgiving."

Immediately the Spirit of God spoke to his heart and told him that had been his problem; he had continually prayed over and over about the same situation, never thanking God for the answer! He had really been praying in doubt and unbelief. God knew thanksgiving would get him into faith and keep him in faith.

The missionary realized he'd been praying and praying and asking and asking, but he hadn't been thanking God at all. In other words, he hadn't even acknowledged that God had heard him, let alone answered him. All that time he had been praying in unbelief — not in faith.

The missionary immediately returned to his own mission station, thrilled with what God had revealed to his heart. He didn't even spend the night in the interior at that mission station because he had received his answer from heaven!

All the way back home, in simple faith he praised God that God had heard and answered his prayers. As he did, every bit of depression, disappointment, discouragement, and defeat lifted from him. By the time he reached his mission station, he had such revival in his own heart that God used him mightily to bring a major revival to that entire area!

You see, this missionary had known the power of prayer, but he realized that he had neglected the power of praise. He came to understand the mighty power in praise. Praising God while the situation still looks bleak is faith!

God Is Waiting for Your Praise
Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. Ps. 65:1

Many of you are praying and waiting on God for the answer to your petitions. But when you're waiting on God for the answer, wait in an attitude of praise and thanksgiving. Wait in an attitude of expectancy! Wait on God in praise! Wait on God in faith!

Prayer asks, but praise receives. Praise receives the answer by faith and thanks God for the answer before the answer is actually visible to the natural man. Of course, there is a proper time to exercise both prayer and praise. Both prayer and praise are necessary and important. But after you've prayed and believed God for the answer based on His Word, that's the time to stay in faith by praising Him.

You can actually get out of faith and into unbelief by praying over and over again about the same petition, if you are praying as if God didn't hear you the first time. Yes, some kinds of prayer such as the prayer of intercession, require diligent prayer over a period of time. But even then you need to stay in faith. Praise ensures that you keep your heart and mind in an attitude of faith; therefore, praise can actually hasten your answer.

There are different kinds of prayer, and all of them are valid in their place. However, the prayer of faith and the prayer of agreement only take a short time to pray when you pray in faith and believe God hears you. You don't have to get into a long theological discourse with God. Just pray simply and pray straight from your heart.

Praise Eradicates Selfishness
There's another benefit to entering into God's gates with thanksgiving and praise. Praise eradicates selfishness in our prayers. In other words, instead of running into your Heavenly Father's Presence demanding, "Gimme, gimme, gimme! My name is Jimmy. I'll take all you'll gimme!" you'll learn to just enjoy being in God's Presence. Approaching your Heavenly Father with demands and selfish attitudes will gain you nothing.

No, there is a reason the Bible admonishes us to enter into God's gates with thanksgiving. The Bible is telling us what the attitude of our hearts should be as we approach our Heavenly Father: "Father, I thank and praise You for what You've done for me. You've delivered me and You've set me free. You've healed my body, and You've met all of my needs, and I thank You for it."

Also, by praising and thanking God for what He's done for you and worshipping Him for who He is, you won't struggle to come into God's Presence. The Bible says the child of God can approach the throne of God boldly through the blood of Jesus. And the attitude of praise and thanksgiving ushers you immediately into your Heavenly Father's Presence.

Praise and thanksgiving is the proper way to approach God. God desires to give you your heart's desire (Ps. 37:4), but He can't answer attitudes of selfishness and arrogance. And after all, we're talking about entering into the Presence of Almighty God, the One who created heaven, the earth, and the entire universe! He deserves our praise!

Too many times we may fail to receive answers to our prayers because we do not have the right heart attitude as we approach our Heavenly Father. Let's learn what is pleasing to our Heavenly Father and practice doing that. He is our Father, but He is also our God! The problem is most of us don't take time enough to study the Scriptures to understand what is pleasing to God and how to come into His Presence properly.

Source: The Untapped Power Of Praise by Kenneth Hagin, Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth W. Hagin
Web site: Kenneth Hagin Ministries
Kenneth W. Hagin, President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, ministers around the world. Known for calling the Body of Christ to steadfast faith, he seizes every ministry opportunity to impart an attitude of “I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.”

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