Have you ever been in a rush to eat and didn't say "grace"? Many times in our family, we get so busy and so rushed that as we're sitting down, we do a quick, "Thank you Lord" while looking upward as if this covers us for the prayer.
I recently saw something in Acts that was very convicting about just prayer in general. I'm always wanting to make my prayer life better. This is truly my life-line to God. I must communicate with Him often and genuinely if I'm going to make it here on Earth and if I'm going to grow in His image.
So check this out...
Acts 27:35 (ESV)
And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.
Okay - let me give you just a little background on this verse. Paul is a prisoner on a ship, heading to appeal to Caesar for his life. They have been at sea many days. The majority of these days it has been storming and dark. In fact, they have already thrown most of their cargo off the ship in order to survive. In verse 33, Paul mentioned it was their 14th day to go without food and they are about to run aground and will need their strength. So this is kind of like a last meal kind of situation!
So - to review...
It's storming - it's dark - they are facing absolute death - and yet... for the little bit of food they are about to eat - Paul prays & gives thanks!
I was in shock when I read this! Too often when we are in the storms and in the dark and facing things that overwhelm us we don't stop to pray - let alone thank God! We cry & complain! We focus more on God rescuing us than finding ways to thank Him.
Two things I learned here...
1) I can give thanks in the storms of life. No matter the situation - no matter if it's big or small - thank Him!
2) Eat. Paul encouraged those on the ship that they would need nourishment for what they were about to face. We too need nourishment for the days ahead of us. Spiritual & physical nourishment. Don't deny yourself the "bread of life" to make it through the day!
Finally... I was quickly encouraged when I read the next verse...
v.36 - "Then they were all encouraged and ate some food themselves."
Just by taking time to pray - to thank God in the stormiest times of our lives can encourage others around us! And isn't that what a life in Christ is all about?
Today - take time to do two things... Pray. Thank God even if your days are dark and you're facing some of the hardest days of your life. Second - eat. Enjoy the fruits of this life - both physically & spiritually. And as a result others will notice and be encouraged.