Praise Over Petition

Isn’t it just like God to bless us when we least expect it? Happened to me last Wednesday. When I posted my Deflated, Not Defeated blog post in the early morning hours of August 10th, I had no idea what was in store. The weather forecast was about the same as it had been for much of the past 68 days—no rain and over 100 degrees. The forecast didn’t stop me from sending up prayers for relief for my livestock, pastures, and spirit. Sometimes ranching is stressful, tiring, unprofitable, and nerve-wracking. Yet for those of us who love living and working in God’s natural wonder, there’s not a better job in the world.

Far from bringing an umbrella with me when Mr. John and I fed the livestock, I did pause to thank God for another day. I thanked Him for protecting us throughout the night, giving us one more day, and I asked Him to pour out his blessing, in liquid form, upon our land. I didn’t think about it then, but thanking God isn’t always praising God. Seems through this drought I had forgotten that. Sometimes, clinging to our faith seems as though it takes more faith than we might have. We dig deep into our souls, and we summon the strength to stand on God’s promises one day more. That’s really all God asks of us, isn’t it? To stand upon our faith in Him one day at a time (Matthew 6:34).

As the day went on, comments from so many of you who were promising to keep praying for rain here in northeast Texas encouraged me. Well friends, in case you missed it, God heard all y’all and answered our prayers. Last Wednesday evening while eating supper, I heard the tinny sound of raindrops hitting the stovetop’s exhaust hood. I knew rain was again in the area, but radar showed it once again missing Cooper by a wide margin. But God!

With the frequency and intensity of the pop-up thunderstorm increasing, I stopped eating and went outside to witness God pouring out His liquid love onto our land. Getting drenched feels good to an old rancher when it’s been as dry as it has this year, and even the cattle was enjoying it. As the temperatures dropped and the cold rain fell upon us, my heart soared to see the young calves chasing around the pasture in wild abandon. It didn’t last long, about 15 minutes, and measured 0.6-inches, but it was the first measurable rainfall here at the Cross-Dubya since June 2nd. Standing in the drenching rain, I felt one of God’s heart hugs as my soul cried out, “I have not forgotten you child, I have not forsaken you.” I’m not sure how much of it was joyful tears and how much was liquid love, but I came in soaked and smiling.

As God showered me in His love, He refreshed my faith. #CrossDubya #RefreshedFaith Click To Tweet

I fell asleep a couple of hours later in praise and adoration for the wonderful blessing of a surprise rain shower. That night, I slept more peacefully than I have in many months. Almost every night, I spend my last waking moments thanking God for the day, praying for family, friends, and nation; and asking His help to grow in my faith. With Ms. Diane’s upcoming surgery, my failing eyesight, awaiting biopsy results, drought and heat-stressed livestock, inflation concerns, and chaos erupting all around, stress can sometimes overwhelm me.

Awaking refreshed and renewed early the next morning, I recognized the difference in my spirit during my “God time”. The thought struck me, the difference was that I spent more time praising God than pleading with Him. I believe God welcomes every way that we reach out to connect with Him with honest and sincere intent, as God created us for relationship with Him. The sweet aroma of heartfelt praise is especially pleasing to Him (Leviticus 2:2, Hebrews 13:15). It is in our praise that we invite God’s presence, His calm, and His peace into our lives.

We should praise God for who He is and not because of what He does for us. #ConditionalGod #WorthyOfPraise Click To Tweet

Sharing my thoughts with Ms. Diane later that morning, I felt a distinct check in my spirit. When I listened, the words “I’m not a conditional God” came to mind. I realized that my praising God for the rain last night was in response to an answer to prayers. However, I should praise God daily for who He is, not for what He does for me. It’s important we remember God is worthy of our praise because He is our omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient creator God, not because He gives us what we pray for. Praise moves us closer to God, and in that position, we are better able to hear His voice and discern His will for our lives.

Let’s endeavor to spend more time praising God each day than petitioning Him. #PraiseGod #CrossDubya #HeIsWorthy Click To Tweet

What I rediscovered is that praising God does more to settle my spirit and bolster my faith than praying for my wants and needs. His will for every Christian’s life is a closer walk with Him. When we do this, His blessings will flow throughout our lives.

God’s blessings,

60 thoughts on “Praise Over Petition

    1. Yes ma’am. For Him to have brought the rain on that evening was, for me, a wonderful affirmation that I/we had not gone unnoticed in the halls of heaven. It took a while for that particular answer to come, but as always, He answers in God’s perfect timing. Thank you sweet friend.

  1. Yes, indeed! Thanks for this reminder. The sacrifice of our lips continually offered, even before we see the results. No matter what. He hears. He knows. The Lord holds you & Diane very close.

    1. Absolutely He does Ms. Dottie. We sometimes forget that; and Satan loves to try and convince us that “God isn’t listening”, that “God is too busy to worry about you and your piddly little problems”. All lies. I wonder if sometimes God holds back His blessing to see how we react to the delay? With every trial we endure, with every test of faith we pass, we pour salt onto Satan’s crushed head. 🙂 Pass the salt dear sister!

  2. May God continue to pour out best blessings to you and Ms Diane as you continue to show us His mercy while we learn from your choice words, dear friend.

    1. Thank you Mr. Warren. While we’ll need much more rain to begin to recover from this year’s drought, and it looks like it’s starting to arrive next week, knowing that our God is faithful to give us what we need when we are faithful to Him gives us the endurance we need to “run this race.” Thank you for your continued prayers from friend and brother.

  3. Yes, I had missed your “shower of blessing” last Wednesday, but I am so thankful for it and glad to learn of it now!
    I was just thinking yesterday about the modern-day evangelical Christian’s prayer life. Yes, it is often short on praise. So, thank you so much for that voice of affirmation to my spirit.
    We evangelicals are great at pouring our hearts out to God in genuineness, but sometimes, the “old prayers”, from the prayer books and from the Scriptures, help us to praise in our prayer time.

    1. Amen Ms. Gena. Bonhoeffer, Nee, Edwards, Bunyan, Lewis, and so many others offered wisdom that is as applicable to Christian living today as it ever was my friend. I found myself woefully short on praising God because He is God. I think Him quite often, for all He is, all He does, and all He will do. I don’t take time to sit and praise and adore Him as I should though. Something I’m working on.

  4. Such a beautiful and important reminder. He inhabits our praises and what could be better than being in His Presence, regardless of the circumstances. And I am so happy and grateful you did get some rain.

  5. Our family rejoiced when we heard rain had fallen in Texas! Your post reminds me of Phil. 4:4-7. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

    1. Amen Ms. Debbie. Thank you for your and Mr. Larry’s prayers ma’am; and thank you in advance for those yet to come. God’s blessings ma’am. You and your family have been in our prayers this week.

  6. Remembering to praise God anew each and every day, J. D.! I haven’t stopped praying that rain will come your way; wow! What a testimony you have here to the power of prayer.
    Praying, too, for Ms. Diane’s upcoming surgery and for improvement in your eyesight.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Thank you Ms. Martha. What Ms. Diane and I have learned these past years is that we control very little in this life, but we know who does and knowing that makes a great difference in our lives. It doesn’t stop us from asking, hurting, and lamenting, but it does stop us from dwelling on the negative and helps us to remember who we willingly placed in charge of our lives. Surrender is indeed a peace-bringing word.

  7. What a beautiful message reminding us that we need to give thanks and praise at all times. I’m keeping you and Ms. Diane in my prayers. Thank you for encouraging and inspiring me and others.

    1. Thank you Ms. Melissa. We’re hoping to get a break from this dry period and stifling heat soon. It won’t recover what we’ve lost, but I pray we get enough that we can re-plant for winter forage to help offset the excessive cost of hay and feed so we can get through the winter months, and hopefully refill our depleted ponds, etc. Either way, God is good; all the time! 😀 Thank you precious friend.

  8. So thankful to God for your 1/2+ of rain. That is a LOT here in Southern California. I’ve never doubted your love and adoration for our God, but it is always a good reminder to praise, honor, adore Him always, besides the times when He blesses us. And REJOICE ALWAYS too!

    1. Thank you Ms. Jackie. Yes, a 1/2-inch of rain causes mudslides in parts of CA my friend. We still have HUGE cracks in the ground here, and the ground was dry less than 30 minutes after the downpour, but God’s affirmation to me sure did wonders to lift my spirits. What I realized afterwards was just spiritually dry the struggle had made me. Lesson learned.

  9. Powerful insights here, J.D.
    Could the reason be that our spirits lift and grow more when we praise God because we are focusing on the positive — God and his many blessings — rather than our needs which can drag us down.
    I think God wants both from us, but sincere, heartfelt praise for Him should be our main priority. Thanks for showing me that!

    1. Wonderful question Ms. Candyce! One I’ve asked myself a few times this past week. I’ve wondered, had I praised God for being God would the test have had to gone on so long? We can’t change history, or HIStory, but we can learn from it can’t we my friend.

  10. Your closing paragraph gives us fodder for deep thought, J. D. I too sometimes fall into focusing on His blessings more than on Him. We are to be thankful and tell Him our needs, but I agree, “It is in our praise that we invite God’s presence, His calm, and His peace into our lives.” I enjoyed reading about the rain I’ve asked God to send to your ranch. I prayed for your health needs and Diane’s. Blessings.

    1. Thank you, Ms. Jeannie. The wonderful thing about this Christian life is that we are always given the opportunity to learn and grow from each interaction. The lesson I learned from this latest trial/test is that God is worthy of my praise regardless of what He does or does not do in my life. And while thanking Him for even life itself is important, the most important thing I can do is praise Him for who and what He is, not what He does. The difference that makes is in me, not Him.

  11. I’m a bit late again, J.D., but it’s always a special blessing when I can sit for a while and contemplate what God has given you. One of the many things that came across to my heart–other than the obvious praises for what He showed you about praise, is concern re. the medical issues you alluded to. Regardless of what the details and the “forecasts” in that area look like, our hearts are knit with yours in that realm and we’re praising Him along with you for being the incredible healer that He is, and for how He’s going to meet all the needs for you and Mrs. Diane in the days ahead. The other thing I found personally moving was the fact that sometimes we find a closer connection with our Father when He doesn’t cough up what we need when we think we need it. Either way, Diane and I love you both and cast our faith toward Him on your behalf. May the ways your spirits thrive in the midst of this drought bring living inspiration to all of us whose hearts tend to hang around the Cross-Dubya.

    1. Always enjoy your thoughts, insights, and encouragement my friend. Thank you and Ms. Diane for your continued thoughts and prayers. Know that my Ms. Diane and I are confident that God has a purpose for each trial He allows us to face. Our job is to learn from each one and grow in Him. I remind myself that I’m blessed to be able to pass those lessons along to a few folks along my journey. God’s blessings my friend; and thank you so much for your continued prayers.

  12. Beautiful imagery … liquid love. I’ll never consider rain the same way. There are those who suffer under the weight of too much and lose their property, lives. But the hand of our sovereign, loving Lord is over those extremes as well.
    “It is in our praise that we invite God’s presence, His calm, and His peace into our lives.”
    Amen, JD! God bless Texas 🙂

    1. Yes ma’am! I’m tryin’ to tell ya! 🙂 Knew a good Texas girl like you would understand that. God’s reminder of how important it is to love and praise Him daily, rather than thank Him and ask for “more please”, is crucial to maintaining our peace in Him and our right relationship with Him. He is indeed, God. Nuff said.

  13. Great reminder JD. We need to thank Him always, not just when he answers our prayers. I’m continuing to pray for more liquid blessings in your area and ours.

  14. Thank you, Ms. Yvonne;. Like y’all, we can use lots more rain, and I know I’m joining you in prayer for our friends around the world who are getting either too much or too little also. My prayer today is that others might learn from my experience and find the refreshing peace that comes from spending time praising God. When we focus on Him, we take the focus off us.

    1. Thank you Ms. Diana. Sometimes we can get so caught up in our struggles that we forget Who is right there beside us. I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. I love the mental image that comes of my walking along with God’s hand over mine. Like a parent and child. It’s knowing that even though I might let go (fear, worry, rebellion, etc.) He never will that I can place my trust and take that next step in growing in my faith. God’s blessings gentle lady.

  15. J.D., this is a beautiful, precious, and much needed reminder.
    “It is in our praise that we invite God’s presence, His calm, and His peace into our lives.”
    “Praising God does more to settle my spirit and bolster my faith than praying for my wants and needs.”
    Amen! I am not a rancher, but J.D., your lessons from ranching and this drought have surely been teaching much about our God. I so appreciate your insight, wisdom, and humility. Praying for you and Ms. Diane.

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Nancy. Please let Mr. Head know that his extended forecast was right on! Much cooler yesterday, with a change happening end of this week and ushering it what could be a week of showers next week. He’s pretty good at this stuff. 😀 Better than the local folks at predicting.

  16. So glad to hear of God’s “liquid love” to you all! I think God is delighted when we rejoice in and thank Him for answers to prayer. “Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man” (Psalm 66:5). But I agree, we shouldn’t stop there or appreciate *just* His answers to prayer–we should love and praise Him for who He is.

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. All that “liquid love” He can send will be most welcome as we’re pretty dry around here, but knowing how much He loves me is more important than how much He blesses me. God’s blessings ma’am.

  17. Your message really speaks to me because I don’t praise our Father as frequently as I should. I’ve been praying about that and your message bolsters my resolve to do better. His blessings come every moment of every day, yet I seem to focus more on what I deem missing than on the continuous blessing of my Father who loves me unconditionally (as undeserving as I am). Thank you, my friend.

  18. So good, JD. I know many times when I’m bombarding God with my pleas, it feels like I’m throwing them against a brick wall. Like you, I do believe God welcomes us in all the ways we come to him, but there is just something about acknowledging him for who he is and recognizing that he is good in all his ways that seems to open the heavens. What a good, good father he is.

  19. Yes, J.D., God is more than worthy of all we can offer to Him regardless of how He answers our prayers. Who are we to dictate any conditions to Him? Yet He loves us and cares about every worry and every petition we offer up to Him. I needed your reminder about praise today. I agree that praise keeps us close to God and puts our petitions into the right perspective. And, while I’ve never met you, I can almost picture you dancing in the rain.

    1. Amen. Yes, indeed He is Ms. Annie. So pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. And whether a writer’s conference or heaven’s shores, I look forward to the day when we meet ma’am. If it’s in heaven, I’ll be a much better dancer. God created me with two left feet here, for comic relief. 🙂

  20. I realized I was smiling bigger and bigger as I read your blog. So, so happy for the drenching surprise shower and the dancing calves. I know you need more, so the prayers for rain will continue. I discovered some time back that praise can cover it all, especially those needs and wants. It’s like God reads your heart through the praise. I believe the sweetest praise comes from the hardest times. The eternal perspective has to press through those hard times, allowing our praise to honor and bless God Almighty. And you are correct about not overlooking that praise as being synonymous with thanksgiving.

    1. Thinking of you smiling brought me smiles Ms. Karen. Thank you for the prayers, and for continuing to pray. Our large 1-acre pond is nearly dried up in the west pasture, but it looks like God is bringing good rains all next week to help us recover. It may not stem the drought, but I’m ever so grateful for each drop He gives. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  21. What powerful words that speak to my soul. Yes I’ve prayed rain for you and healing and hope for many. Yes my heartfelt petitions continually flowed upward. But I’ve felt the stress- you are so right, I must lift my heart in praise. Thank you so much.

    1. Amen Ms. Sharon. Reading through so many comments this week, I’ve realized that I wasn’t alone in seeing the need to praise God for who He is in my life more than I do. It is when we sing out our praises to God that we are lifted high above the trials we may be facing in this world. While heartfelt prayer establishes a wonderful connection with God, heartfelt praise transports us into His realm as He envelops us in His love. Amen ma’am . Thank you so much for your comments.

  22. “May all joy be yours and all glory be God’s” often appears on your correspondence. In a way, that captures your message here. As we give more glory (praise) to God, our joy tends to increase. Not because of what He does, but because of who He is.

    1. Thank you, Coach! Romans 15:13 has always held a special place in my life. Not because I’ve always joyful (although He gives us reason to be), but because in Him, I am ever-hopeful. God’s blessings sir. Praying a speedy recovery from your recent health issues and surgery. God’s got you my friend.

  23. Yes, “But God.”
    So true that we need to be constantly grateful to our wonderful God. Thanks for that well articulated reminder.
    I pray you continue to get rain — ample rain in a timely manner.
    Also, I’m praying for your and Diane’s health. We love you two so much.

    1. You are too kind Ms. Connie. Ms. Diane and I love you and Mr. Guy every bit as much precious sister. We’ve felt your prayers, and we’ll continue to stand strong in whatever God chooses to allow to come our way, for we can do nothing else. God’s blessings ma’am.

  24. I’m so thankful for the sake of your precious cattle! I can’t stand to see animals suffer in heat and drought. I agree we should praise Him for who He is, but your intersession for the lives and health of your cattle is also valid. I find perfect balance in this favorite scripture: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. I understand that rain is predicted all week long! Hallelujah and Praise His Name! (I’ll also keep you both in prayer concerning your health issues, dear brother.)

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. I’m right there with you ma’am. Seeing the livestock and land suffer through this has been the most difficult part for me. And Hallelujah, we’ve gotten about 1.5 inches since last Thursday and I’m thanking God for every drop. While so much more is needed to restore the land, and I can’t see a way to recover all that was lost (crops, forage, etc.), I am confident that God will provide all we need. Thank you so much for your prayers ma’am; they mean the world to us.

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