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Is Praying “Thank You” Really Enough?

Lately, I’ve seen an interesting quote circulating. “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, Thank you, that would suffice.” Is that true? How does one reconcile this idea of only saying thank you, with Jesus’ comment to Peter, “I have prayed for you” (Luke 22:32), Paul’s frequent reminder to those to whom he wrote that he was praying for them, or James’ instruction to “pray for one another” (James 5:16). A colleague, who took the time to count, says 78% of the prayers in the Bible are prayers for someone other than self. So, who made this questionable quote? The quote is attributed to Meister Eckhart, also known as Eckhart von Hochheim, a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, who lived in the late 1200s and early 1300s. In later life he was accused of heresy and brought up before the local Franciscan-led Inquisition, and tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII. I encourage you to pray lots of “thank you” prayers, but don’t stop with the advice offered in a popular quote from a heretic theologian. Go ahead and practice biblical praying through intercession, petition, and supplication.

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Comment by Margaret Richardson on October 30, 2014 at 1:03pm

I understand that Dan.  Jesus prayed for others but He also prayed for God to take the fate of being crucified from Him as well if that was His will.  I've actually counselled some who were afraid of praying because they might do it 'wrong'.  Again, I believe that we can become too pedantic on what is 'Biblical' in prayer and miss the opportunity to converse with Our Heavenly Father, which prayer really is.   I tend to hold a continual conversation with God, praying with my eyes open if you like, as I see something I comment on it just as I would if a human friend were walking beside me.  

Comment by Dan R. Crawford on October 30, 2014 at 12:51pm

Margaret, You missed my point.  No one is suggesting that we refrain from saying "thank you" to God.  My point is that just saying "thank you" is not enough.  To be biblical we need to go beyond saying "thank you" to include intercession, petition, and supplication.

Comment by Margaret Richardson on October 30, 2014 at 11:26am

I would agree up to a point, however, I can find nothing in the Bible that suggests that saying thank you to God is not really a prayer.  I believe that God too likes to be treated as more than a celestial 'santa claus' as so many believer's seems to think He is.  

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