Praise and Thanksgiving in Prayer

Chapter 35

Theme: Praise and Thanksgiving in Prayer
Focus on: David
Reading Portion(s): 1 Chronicles 28 & 29.
– Important Background Information
– Helps you find strength in God
What this article teaches you
Have you reached the end of your journey on earth? Is there something left to do? There might be many things. But none may be important than sending a “thank you” note to God mingled with His praises. This is what David did at the end of his life. We would do well to follow his example.

Or better we need not wait till the end of our life’s journey to praise and thank God. It can be done now. And it is done best when your personal experiences of God are recollected in an attitude of thanksgiving. Then the heart will overflow with praise looking at all what God had done for you in His faithfulness. If the journey is almost at its end, this thanksgiving can look forward in sure hope to what God will do in the future after you are gone.

We are here introduced to the last lap in the life of David’s race on earth. He is now very near the finishing line. Having known this he makes elaborate preparations to make one of his great dreams come true. He had in mind to build a magnificent temple for the Almighty God. Yet God did not allow him to do so by saying that he was a warrior and had shed blood. But God however promised to enable Solomon, David’s son, to build the temple that David had dreamed of.

David gathered all the leading officials and commanders in his service, at Jerusalem. There he announced to them the plan he had in mind to build the temple of God and asked the people and Solomon his son to follow God wholeheartedly. Even though David was denied the privilege of building the temple of God; it was to him that God through the Spirit communicated the detailed plans of the temple. The Spirit had put them into his mind and he put it in writing and he was given understanding to all the details of the plan. This was now given to Solomon. He was asked to be strong and courageous to do the work.

Then David turned his attention to the people who had gathered there. He told them that he had collected large amounts of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, and precious stones for the palatial structure to be built as the temple of God. Moreover David then made a proclamation. He said that out of his personal devotion to the temple of his God he was contributing a great quantity of gold and silver out of his own personal treasures. Then he asked the people as to who were all willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord that day.

The leaders and commanders and officials in response to David’s call offered willingly gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious stones in abundant measure. Then the people rejoiced greatly because of the willing response of their leaders. It was given voluntarily and wholeheartedly. This made the king also rejoice greatly.

This was an unprecedented moment in the history of the nation. Their nation was now firmly established. They had a godly king who was a great warrior too. Now his time was coming to a close. And the king had chosen it as the time for his swan song. God had given him a successor on the throne, Solomon, his son. God had also promised that the dream of David would be fulfilled by Solomon. Yet David in his great devotion was unwilling to keep still. He made great preparations for the temple and proved his great devotion to God by giving out of his personal treasures. And inspired by his example the leaders of the people and commanders and officials gave freely and willingly for the temple of God.

This therefore became a great occasion of rejoicing for the king and the
people. David could not but praise the God of Israel before the whole
assembly.
This exultation of praise came from a heart full of gratitude and
joy for the amazing things that God had done. It was not a premeditated
prayer. It was spontaneous. Therefore it has great beauty. It was the “thank
you” note of a heart overwhelmed by the goodness of God.

This prayer of praise extols the awesome greatness of God. It tells us that
David, the great shepherd-king of Israel and its singer of songs, had known
the greatness of God in a very personal manner. This prayer was just an
overflowing of this understanding; as he himself had sung earlier, “my cup
overflows.”

David praises God who is also the God of their father Israel. Here David was tracing the faithfulness of God who had kept them together as a people from the time of their forefathers up to the present. He tells that praise is due to God from everlasting to everlasting.

Yes, God is a faithful God. Praise is due to Him. And there was, is and will not be a time, in space or history, when His praises will not be heard in heaven or earth. From beginning to end; from everlasting to everlasting He is to be praised.

He ascribes to God greatness and power; glory, majesty and splendor. As if these words were not sufficient to praise God he says that not only these but everything in heaven and earth is His. He tells God that the kingdom is His. Even though David was the ruler of Israel, the kingdom is actually God’s. David may have been looking forward to the time when God will reign in His kingdom on earth. He tells God that He is exalted as head over all.

God is the Creator of this world and the entire universe. The greatness and power and glory and majesty and splendor that we see in the created things of this world; in men and animals, in the heavens and the seas, in the mountains and the forests are but a faint reflection of all these great qualities of God. He is not only the Creator but also the King. He is over all and in His time will rule His kingdom.

David makes one more point clear in his praise. He tells God that wealth and honor come from Him. In God’s hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to people.

David might have recalled in his mind in a flash his humble beginnings. He was just the youngest of all the sons in his family. He was a shepherd boy. Yet God chose him and brought him to be the Shepherd of Israel. So in his praise he tells God that all wealth and honor and strength and power came from Him alone.

Finally, David tells God that they are now giving thanks to their God and they were praising His glorious name. Oh, what a heart of gratitude David had! At that moment when the entire nation along with the king had contributed willingly to the temple of God and rejoiced, David could see nothing but God’s goodness in all this. He never thought of it as a personal triumph. This is true gratitude of heart and he says thanks to God on behalf of himself and the people.

The thoughts of God and His praise had so occupied his mind till now. Then suddenly he realizes the occasion that had created this praise. He immediately asks God of what consequence was he and the people that they were enabled to give as generously as they had given? He tells God that everything had come from Him and they are just giving back what He had given.

David tells God that their lives are like a shadow without hope. That is all this life is all about. They are like strangers without any permanent home on earth. And all what they have provided for the temple had been provided by God.

Even though they had given abundantly David knew that there was something more valued in God’s eyes. This he now gives voice to in prayer. He tells God that he knows that God tests the heart and is pleased with integrity. He tells God that he had given all the gold and silver willingly and with honest intent. He also tells God that he was able to see with joy that the people too had given willingly.

Here David leaves us a lesson for all times. It is not the abundance of what we offer that is important to God. But it is with what motive that we give that is crucial. God is pleased when we give with the intent that God’s name be glorified. God is pleased when we give willingly and voluntarily. It is then that giving gives us joy.

David concludes his prayer of praise with a prayer for the people and his son Solomon. He asks the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel to keep the desire of willingly offering themselves and their possessions to God in the hearts of the people forever. He asks God to keep the hearts of the people loyal to Him.

Then David prays for his son Solomon. David knew that the provisions were not just enough. So he asks God to keep Solomon wholeheartedly devoted to His commands, requirements and decrees so that he may be enabled to build the palatial structure for which he had provided for.

The final moments of David’s prayer again teaches us something important. It teaches us that even though God is pleased with what we willingly give; He is more pleased with our devotion to Him and obedience to His commands. And it is this wholehearted devotion that enables us to use what we have contributed for God’s glory.

David led by example in praising God. When he finished doing so he called upon the entire assembly to praise the Lord their God. So they praised God together.

We find in this prayer of praise the fruit of the blessed experience of David’s walk with God during his lifetime. Only someone who had enjoyed sweet communion with God can truly from the depths of the heart praise God like how David did. This prayer of praise should inspire us to praise God with great exultation and reverence for His Holy Name.