My favorite prayers... 1 of 3

For all that has been, thanks. To all that shall be, yes.

In my humble opinion, the best conversations are the clear ones. I love talking to people, but a certain part of me thinks that if communication is serving it's purpose, clarity, simplicity, and brevity are paramount.

You know that when people don't know what they are talking about they have a tendency to talk excessively to compensate for a lack of knowledge or confidence. Preachers do this too, unfortunately hehe.

As I believe that prayer is a lot like conversation between friends, the best prayers are like conversations. I have three prayers that are easily my favorite. And of of them is short, sweet, and not very complicated.

For all that has been, thanks. To all that shall be, yes.

I found this prayer in one of Anthony De Mello's books (not quite sure which one) and immediately liked it. Clarity, purpose, simplicity, and it's short. But within this prayer is more than enough meaning for me.

Two parts.

For all that has been, thanks.

We humans spend a large amount of time studying the past, worrying about the future, and ignoring the present.  We also spend a lot of time determining what in life is "good" and what in life is "bad".  Within our ruminations on the nature of life and God we often miss the two most important words we can ever utter...

Thank you.

I don't mean to demean our catagorization of life, but being able to say thanks for anything and everything negates a lot of the spent energy "knowing" life.  Good, bad, evil, righteous, hurts, or sins.  Whatever has been in our life, can we say thanks to God anyway?

This does not require affirming evil as okay, or even "good", but negates that evil.  Sin?  The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins.  And some of those sins are not undone but instead made so piddly and minor that they hold no sway over us.  We are not rubber stamping evil but instead reminding ourselves that evil/sin/hurts have shaped us into who we are.  And this can be a good thing (Romans 8:28).  Trading one master for another - trading death for life.  Sinful for Holy.  *THIS* is what is encompassed by saying thanks to God.  For all that has been of my life... thank you Jesus.

For the good? Thank you Jesus.  For the bad?  Thank you Jesus. For the love?  Thank you Jesus.  For the hate?  Thank you Jesus.

This is a hard prayer.  But it is freeing.  As if this wasn't hard enough -

To all that shall be, yes.

Stepping forward into the future is no small feat.  We, as Christians, are called to place our faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ.  Regardless of what life brings we say yes to Jesus when we say yes to whatever faithful Christian living brings along with it.

Life changes quick.  One moment you are in a happy place, the next, you are attacked from all sides.  God's goodness does not change in these different places, but we do.  Better get yourself ready now.  Having faith in Jesus is not some naive stance that downplays reality.  We are not ostriches with our heads in the sand.  Say yes to whatever Christ may bring, and after it has come and gone, say thanks. :)

There are some worst case scenarios floating around in my head.  Personally they happen to me, sometimes to church members.  And I pray this prayer often to encourage my faith in a God that always loves me.

God's love is unconditional.  God loves me even when I don't feel lovable.  Regardless of the conditions of life (for all that has been), I can thank God for his love.  Regardless of the unseen and untold sins/hurts that have yet to be revealed to this temporal being (to all that shall be), I can say yes to God's love for me.

In other words, every time I pray this prayer I affirm my belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life and this world.  Join me, won't you?  For all that has been, thanks.  To all that shall be, yes.