From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 3 – Cultivate the attitude of thankfulness until it is a habit
See how the Psalmist expresses this thought in this well-known verse:
4Enter His gates with thanksgivingPsalm 100:4 (NASB)
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
The above verse contains an important clue as to how to get into God’s presence. The clear implication is that the very act of giving thanks is what enables us to enter God’s gates, i.e. at the outer edge of His presence. Then, praising Him enables us to go even closer and enter His inner courts. It refers to moving from the outer to the inner areas of God’s dwelling place.
Giving thanks brings us closer to God, such that we can enter the ‘gates’ at the outer edge of His dwelling place. Praise brings us even closer, such that we can go in to His court, thereby having direct access to Him and being heard by Him, in much the same way as we might gain access to a King or President. Anyone can write to a President, but not everybody can have direct personal access to his office.
So, if we want to get closer to God we need to focus on both thanksgiving and praise. Set out to make both of these central to your whole way of life. Doing so will alter you and your attitudes, but it will also enable you to enter God’s presence in your prayers and to relate to Him more intimately. This is not just some formula to manipulate God and get Him to do what you want. It means adopting a wholly new attitude and approach to God and persisting with it until it becomes the norm. Then it will seriously impact our relationship with God.