"Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart." Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Derek Kidner notes that the key word in this passage is God. Solomon mentions Him four times in three verses—each time to remind us that the secret of happiness is to receive whatever comes to us as sent from heaven.
Several months ago my wife and I ate lunch with some friends who were visiting from another state. When we started our meal the thought passed through my mind that the husband looked more relaxed than I had seen him in a long time. I soon learned the reason for his calm demeanor. He heard a minister suggest a simple prayer for the beginning of each new day. He challenged his hearers to pray this prayer for 21 days straight. My friend said that he had tried it and that the prayer had made a profound difference in his life. At that point his wife chimed in to say that she had noticed a drastic difference in him as well. Before he started praying the prayer, he often came home tense over things that had happened to him during the day, but now he comes home relaxed and in a good mood. As I listened, I wondered to myself what kind of prayer could make that kind of difference. He explained that for him the key is to pray the prayer the moment he wakes up—even before he gets out of bed. He even said that he had awakened that morning at 4:30 so he prayed the prayer and then went back to sleep.
The prayer itself is the essence of simplicity. It goes like this: “Heavenly Father, you are in charge of everything that is going to happen to me today--whether it be good or bad, positive or negative. Please make me thankful for everything that happens to me today. Amen.”
I think Solomon would heartily approve of those sentiments. When my friend told me the story, he emphasized that this prayer works it doesn’t change anything outside of me, but it does change everything inside of me. My circumstances don’t change, but my attitude does. And that’s why he looked so relaxed when we ate lunch.
I challenge you to pray this prayer for the next 21 days and see if the Lord doesn’t work miracles inside your heart.
“Heavenly Father, you are in charge of everything that is going to happen to me today--whether it be good or bad, positive or negative. Please make me thankful for everything that happens to me today. Amen.”