I had been getting up early, fixing myself a cup of coffee, and then sitting in the rocker on the front porch while I prayed for each of our children, and for each of theirs.

One morning I awoke earlier than usual. It was five o’clock, with dawn just breaking over the mountains. I collected my cup of coffee and settled into the old rocker. Suddenly, I realized a symphony of bird song was literally surrounding me. The air was liquid with music, as if the whole creation were praising God at the beginning of a new day. I chuckled to hear the old turkey gobbler that had recently joined our family gobbling away down in the woods at the top of his voice as if he were a song sparrow!

And I learned a lesson. I had been beginning my days with petitions and I should have been beginning them with worship.

When the disciples asked our Lord to teach them how to pray, he gave them what we commonly know as the Lord’s Prayer. The very first line is one of praise: “Hallowed be thy name.”

In the seventeenth century, John Trapp wrote: “He lets out his mercies to us for the rent of our praise, and is content that we may have the benefit of them so he may have the glory.”

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