The Essence of Prayer XVIII – Thanksgiving in Prayer, Luke 22:17, 19

In previous weeks we have seen the humbleness of the Lord Jesus in coming to the Father in prayer.  In Matthew 18:3 the Lord Jesus declares that we must become like little children.  What we see of Christ in prayer is that He is that little child before His Father, with humility and implicit trust.  We see that this is the place from which we must come to the Father.  At Lazarus’ death we see the Lord Jesus pray in childlike trust and utter confidence in the Father, Luke 11:42.  This happens in the last days of His ministry when He is being pursued by the religious leaders of the day.  His confidence is not based on the events around Him, because they were not going well, but in God His Father.

In Luke 22:17, 19 we see the Lord Jesus giving thanks during what is called the Last Supper.  This is significant and consistent with His practice of giving thanks before He ate.  In John 6:11 He gave thanks before breaking the bread to feed the five thousand.  He was ready to give thanks at all times.

In Acts 14:15-17 Paul brings to mind all the things God has given to those on earth.  The believer has an ability to give thanks to God, acknowledging His goodness and control over all things.  The unbeliever looks to immediate causes, not the hand of God.  I Timothy 4:4, 5 declares that all things are sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.  The believer’s prayer of thanksgiving acknowledges God as the giver of all things.

In Luke 22:14, 15 the Lord Jesus was in the midst of great difficulty prior to the last meal He partook of with the disciples, yet He could give thanks.  We need to receive difficulty from God’s hand in the same way, as a little child, with thanksgiving for God’s complete control and goodness.

What makes this valuable?  For the believer it is the fact that God is giving all things as the Father.  It is the stance of the believer as receiving all things from God’s hand as a little child from His Father, in complete trust.

In the midst of difficulty it is easy to point fingers at what has brought about the difficulty – prior circumstances, our own sin, other’s sin, even at God Himself.  But the believer must not stay there.  The believer must clear that out of his heart and receive all things directly from the Father in humility and childlike trust.