Read 1 Corinthians 1:4-6
4-6 I am always thankful to God for what the gift of his grace in Jesus Christ has meant to you—how, as the Christian message has become established among you, he has enriched your whole lives, from the words on your lips to the understanding in your hearts. (JBP)
C.S. Lewis once wrote that we ought to balance our ‘please’ prayers with our ‘thank you’ prayers. We so often complain that our prayers are not answered. Our ‘please’ prayers pile up. We wonder if God has heard us or can be bothered replying.
It is true that sometimes our prayers remain puzzlingly unanswered. A seemingly good thing is not granted. Suffering persists. Yet it is also true that sometimes our prayers are answered and we don’t recognise it. We are so busy scratching our heads about the prayers that haven’t got an answer that we overlook the prayers that have been answered.
We develop a mentality which focusses on what we haven’t got rather than a focus on what we have got. The issue of apparently unanswered prayer remains real. But we don’t let that get in the way of thanking God for all the prayers that are wonderfully answered.
In our passage today, Paul retains a thanksgiving focus. The Corinthians were a troublesome lot and he addresses those issues. He prays some ‘please’ prayers for them. But he doesn’t forget to also thank God for them.
As we persist in our ‘please’ prayers, let’s not forget the ‘thank you’ prayers.