Read Psalm 33:1-9

Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing his praise from the ends of the earth!—Isaiah 42:10 (CEB)

One day I began my usual morning prayers. I prayed for my children’s needs, my needs, and the needs of friends and family. Suddenly, a vivid image of a gumball machine popped into my head. As a child, I enjoyed putting a coin in the slot, turning the handle, and having a colorful gumball fall into my hand. I realized I had been praying as if I were inserting coins into a gumball machine. Almost all of my prayers were petitions, and I was acting as though I expected God’s answers to drop into my life like gumballs into my hand. While God is compassionate and willing to help us when we ask, I realized I was taking for granted the wonders of creation, God’s generous gifts, and the sacrifice Christ made for us.

Now when I pray, I begin with praise. Instead of immediately thinking of what may be lacking in my life and the lives of my loved ones, I find joy in first recognizing the amazing love and generosity of God. And I find that when my “praise prayers” remind me of all that God has done, my “please prayers” come from a trusting, thankful heart.

Prayer: Dear Lord God, help us not to wait until we need something but to stay close to you at all times, expressing praise and trust. Amen.

Thought for the day: I will balance my prayerful petitions with praise for what God has done.

—Valerie Bryant Bennett, Tennessee