Prayer: Oh, What A Beautiful Morning

Bargaining With God

One upon a time, a fisherman who had no time or interest in anything related to God, was at sea. He was working hard reeling in the nets when a huge storm came up that threatened to sink the small boat.

The wind was horrendous. In all his travels he’d never seen the weather so tumultuous—waves were sweeping over the boat, and fear was real enough to cause him to seek Divine assistance.

“O God, I haven’t asked anything of you in fifteen years and if you bring me safely to land, I promise I won’t bother you again for another fifteen!”

We may smile, but his bargaining with God should be a sobering reminder of how often we use prayer as an escape mechanism rather than a way of life. Too many times we treat prayer as a transaction and not an opportunity to nurture our relationship with God.

Even though everything in our culture screams at us to be consumers, we should never treat prayer as a retail deal.

Philippians 4:4-7 - NIV

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Which of these songs typically reveals your attitude?

  • Make The World Go Away
  • Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
  • Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen
  • Oh, What A Beautiful Morning
  • No Opinion
See results without voting
Backpacking our troubles in isolation fosters anxiety.
Backpacking our troubles in isolation fosters anxiety.

Attitude & Anxiety

When we apply the truths of God’s Word revealed in the above passage from Philippians, we’ll be compelled to cultivate an Oh, What A Beautiful Morning attitude.

However, when we don’t seriously engage God’s Word in action, then we will embody one of those other song titles in the poll. Let’s consider again Paul’s words: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

By way of reminder: When Paul of Tarsus advocated an Oh, What A Beautiful Morning attitude, he was a prisoner of the Roman empire. He had many reasons to be full of angst and restlessness. Yet his experiences had repeatedly proven to him that rejoicing and gratitude were the only healthy way to approach life.

To diminish or trash rejoicing and gratitude means to be anxious of one thing or another, and that anxiousness will rapidly become anxiety.

Anxiety breeds fear to take action; anxiety breeds cowardice to deal with difficult situations; anxiety breeds withdrawal from daily life; anxiety breeds depression, discouragement, distrust, and unbelief; anxiety breeds a defeatist attitude.

Anxiety gives birth to all of that and much more, yet anxiety is so unnecessary because it comes as a result of an improper evaluation of our situation. Too often we classify problems as situations in which we anticipate nail-biting, when in fact we should view them as opportunities to see God at work in our lives.

The simple fact is that there are times when we insist on carrying our difficulties in isolation. We refuse to share our problems with other members of our family—even more tragic we don’t hand them over to God.

When we choose to backpack our troubles is it any wonder why we are so overwhelmed by the stronghold of anxiety?

Holding onto anxiety does not eliminate tomorrow’s sorrow—holding onto anxiety does empty today of its strength. The reward for becoming glued to anxiety is an increase in anxiety.

Life & Harvest

The law of the harvest applies to all of life: We reap what we sow—we always reap more than we sow—we never reap until we sow.

Given that universal truth, who wants to sow anxiety only to know that we’re going to grow an even greater crop of anxiety? The only dividends anxiety pays is the emotional turmoil that robs us of all that God intends for us to be.

Anxiety shows a lack of faith and understanding of God. There is zero value in worry—worrying about the future is useless. Jesus expressed this completely: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Jesus understood that worry begets anxiety. He also comprehended the totality of its destructive power—anxiety will consume us, damage our health, disrupt our lives, negatively affect the way we treat others, and reduce our ability to trust God.

We need to get it through our thick skulls that the same God who created us can be entrusted with the details of our lives—God doesn’t ignore those who depend on him.

Prayer & Change

Here’s a foundational reality: Prayer changes us—prayer changes our perspective—prayer changes our attitude.

In his great book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster wrote: “To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic of our lives. The closer we come to the heartbeat of God the more we see our need and the more we desire to be conformed to Christ.”

What never ceases to amaze me—in fact it boggles my mind—is when supposedly mature, growing Christians continue to treat prayer as a retail transaction. Prayer becomes nothing more than shopping lists, with petitions presented to God regarding their wants and desires.

They routinely ask God for a good parking spot at the mall or inquire if it’s God’s will for them to purchase a luxury item, and please Lord, let it be on sale.

As I understand Scripture, we live in a world of sorrows and injustice, so it’s extremely difficult to fathom that placating our culture’s obsession with materialism, convenience, and recreation rates high on God’s to-do list. Prayer is all about aligning my heart with God’s heart. That cannot occur if life is focused on me and mine.

Shopping list prayers reveal a real misunderstanding about who God is and what God desires to do in us and through us.

James, a leader of the first-century church in Jerusalem, wrote: “When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Right motives involve a transformation of our pleasures and desires. To ask rightly means total renewal.

In prayer—real prayer—we begin to desire the things God desires, to love the things God loves. In genuine prayer our perception is progressively transformed to God’s point of view.

Everything about the transformation of our hearts and minds is about changing our perspective from me-centered to God-centered.

Peace & Gratitude

Consider Paul’s encouraging admonition again:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God that transcends all understanding will eliminate anxiety when and only when we give concerns and burdens over to God in prayers seasoned by continual spoonfuls of gratitude.

Shopping list prayers will do nothing to diminish anxiety. However, prayers and petitions packaged in the language of gratitude will guard our hearts and minds with the peace of God.

What will we choose: Anxious about everything or thankful for everything—worry and anxiety or peace of mind? A Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen or an Oh, What A Beautiful Morning attitude?

Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? The choice is always up to us, so go make it an Oh, What A Beautiful Morning kind of day.

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Comments 36 comments

CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 6 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

Beautiful Hub. I agree with you. When I was raised Catholic, I learned the ritual of telling a priest the sins that were experienced and asking for forgiveness, and then the priest would give a "penance" which to me never meant any sense to me. We had to say the same thing in the confession booth everytime we went in, "Father forgive me, it has been (name the amount of days)since my "last" confession. Then the person was to list their sins to the priest who was listening. If that is the attitude taken to God, when praying or talking to Him, then I think it would cause one to talk to God a whole lot more. The word "last" in the plea for forgiveness to a priest really reflects the last time when one spoke to God about forgiveness. Well, as a fellow minister, I share in your same views, Ken. Thanks for bringing your hub to everyone's attention about the real attitude we should have in our communication with the Almighty.:)


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

CMCastro - Thank you for sharing thoughtful words. Glad you stopped in & enjoyed the visit. Blessings.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Ken, glad to see this hub. I answered honestly on your little poll. I voted raindrops keep falling on my head. So much rain, that I get a little anxious at times. WEll I sure don't want to reap a crop of that, as you are right. That seed will growwwww a lot more.If I could vote again, I would say that it was Oh What A Beautiful Morning!


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

A very inspirational hub.. I think it's terrific!!!


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

bayoulady - Thank you for your good words. Appreciated your honesty. Peace, blessings & encouragement to you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

carolina muscle - Thank you. Blessings.


allpurposeguru profile image

allpurposeguru 6 years ago from North Carolina

Amen brother. I'm sure most of your readers already know that, but we all need a reminder from time to time. My prayer life lately has been a lot of work instead of a spontaneous conversation. I don't know how that happened, as I was just beginning to recognize and enjoy the spontaneity. I do know that the ball is in my court. Thanks for the song titles. They may help.


Oldyeller3 6 years ago

Nicely done.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

allpurposeguru - Thank you. I hope the song titles help. Peace & blessings.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thank you, Oldyeller.


Cari Jean profile image

Cari Jean 6 years ago from Bismarck, ND

One of my favorite Bible verses ever - Philippians 4:6! Thanks for this awesome reminder! I heard it put like this once: that prayer should not be a discipline but an attitude, a way of life.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

You're welcome for the reminder, Cari Jean. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. Blessings.


Brother Butch (Cousins) 6 years ago

Great writing my friend and so very true.Having done a bit of rambling myself I can really appreciate the beauty of finding God wherever you are.Thanks for visiting my hub.Look forward to reading more from you.May you continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to Him be glory and honor forever amen 2Peter3:18


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Thanks, Brother Butch. Glad you stopped in & enjoyed the visit. Blessings.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 6 years ago from Southern Minnesota

So true. I find it interesting that it says in the Bible that Jesus got very early in the morning while it was still dark to pray. I would suspect this might make for a more beautiful morning.

I also agree we misunderstand the purpose of prayer. I think the purpose of prayer is to partner with God in learning, praying and aligning ourselves with His will

Knowing His will in many things would eliminate a whole lot of anxiety for all of us.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Tamarajo - Thanks for stopping in. Your thoughtful comments are appreciated. Blessings.


Saintatlarge profile image

Saintatlarge 6 years ago from Canada

Ken, thank you for your tact and expounding to us this great truth. Prayer in the moment of crisis will always point out just how self centred we are and how little of God resides in our heart. Prayer is not so much something we have to do as something we live out joyously, with spontaneity and freedom. It takes practice as Brother Lawrence's book, "The Practice of the Presence of God" would show us. blessings, St.L


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Saintatlarge - You're welcome. Thank you for sharing solid comments. Brother Lawrence's book is indeed excellent. Blessings.


Judicastro profile image

Judicastro 6 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

Great hub Ken, very thoughtful, inciteful and well put together! Thanks for sharing the good Word.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Judicastro - You're welcome. Thank you for your encouraging words. Blessings.


Dave Mathews profile image

Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

Brother Ken: a remarkable Hub. The first part had me thinking of Peter out fishing and Jesus calms the seas then you read further and the part of the deal with God, kinda gets one to thinking. Only God knows what is in store for anyone in the future. I'm not sure I would want to bargain or make deals or promises with God without knowing all.

Brother Dave.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Dave - Thank you so much. Bargaining with God is never a good idea. Blessings.


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Ken You did it again. Well the Spirit moves in you but you had to pick up your fingers. Beautiful, heartfelt hub of love. What a reminder. You know the more i get to know HIM, the more I want of HIM, the more I trust HIM the more I want to serve HIM GOD is an awesome ride. I can not imagine how I survived. OK it was his grace that held my stubborn head in his hands,. He is a mighty God and I am on fire for our Lord. I am grateful I came over for the read I needed to get some food, spiritual that is. Thank You brother.

I wrote a new hub celebrating the journey at the hubs, you are featured in it. SO when you can take five, click on the tunes. put up the heels, relax and enjoy the read.

Your photos are fab I love the praying picture the best. Please pray for my David he is in jail until Nov. it has not been easy. All Glory to God. IAM knows what he does. Love ya ken. Many Blessings to you and yours brother.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

skye2day - Thank you for your kind & generous encouragement. Much appreciated. Peace, blessings & much encouragement to you. Take care.


vogue4us profile image

vogue4us 6 years ago from USA

Thanks for this hub. Very clearly that when we look to the world it sucks the life out of us. Speaking for myself, my walk here on earth is one day at a time; whenever I take my eyes off the Lord I slowly spin into the negative cycle. I learned of 4 very good principles in my walk that I find very useful: complete submission to God, willingness to suffer, vision and positive support.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

vogue4us - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing thoughtful comments. Blessings.


jo miller profile image

jo miller 6 years ago from Tennessee

Wonderful to come across your hub that is well written and inspirational. I'm new to Hubpages and just getting oriented.

My very favorite Bible quote is "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks." That, too, I think, is from Paul. Wendell Berry has one of his characters quote this and then add, "I'm not always able to do this, but those are the right instructions." That's where I am, I suppose.

Thanks for this wonderful hub.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

jo miller - You're welcome. Thank you for stopping in & sharing. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. Blessings.


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 6 years ago from Manila

Beautiful hub with great thoughts to ponder. Truly this hub presnted great insights that will be helpful in molding your positive attitude in life amidst an unfavorable situation.Thank you for sharing these timely reminder. Blessings to you.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

cristina327 - You're welcome. Thank you for your kind & generous words. Blessings.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines

I'm a Roman Catholic. There are many fishermen here on earth as far as the way people treat God is the topic. I also commit the same at times, unconsciously, when under extreme pressures and need, in a different hue. This hub reminds me of my unfair treatment of God. Thank you for the story and the succeeding engagement with God into action tips. Peace and more Blessings to you.


pmccray profile image

pmccray 5 years ago from Utah

I took the advice of Joyce Meyers: I have retrained my mind to put God on my mind upon awakening each morning. She stated during one of her daily televised teachings that "the enemy seeks to destroy your day each morning. Joyce asks the question "how many wake each morning with negativity on the brain?".

Boy my hand went straight up. I now strike down those thoughts by praying while lying in bed or thanking the Lord for allowing me to wake, and counting all the blessings He's provided me and my family.

Excellent subject matter.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Lita - Thank you for stopping in & sharing from your heart. Be blessed & encouraged in your faith-journey.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

pmccray - Thank you. And amen to your words of testimony. Peace & blessings to you.


kimbles profile image

kimbles 5 years ago from The World

A great hub and one that makes great reading for the start of a new year, thanks Ken.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 5 years ago from ON THE ROAD Author

Kim - You're welcome. Thank you for your encouraging words. Much appreciated.

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