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Prayers Acknowledging God

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Prayer is an essential part of the Christian faith and spiritual life. Through prayer, believers communicate directly with God, bringing their praise, thanksgiving, petitions, and laments before His throne of grace. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.”

An important element of prayer involves acknowledging who God is – His character, attributes, and mighty works. By recognizing the greatness and goodness of God in prayer, we rightfully orient ourselves in humility before Him as Creator and Sustainer over all things. Prayers of acknowledgment remind us that He alone is worthy of our worship and allegiance. As Psalm 95:6-7 exhorts, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.”

This essay explores key Biblical principles regarding acknowledging God through prayer, including:

  • Praising God for His attributes and works
  • Thanking God for His provision and blessings
  • Submitting to God’s sovereignty and will
  • Depending on God’s grace and power

Why We Acknowledge God in Prayer

We acknowledge God in prayer because He alone is supremely glorious and excellent, worthy of all honor, praise, and recognition. As Revelation 4:11 declares, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” God seeks worshipers who will glorify Him as God (John 4:23-24). Acknowledging His greatness is the proper response of those made in His image.

We also acknowledge God as an expression of gratitude for all He has done on our behalf. James 1:17 states that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Out of thankful hearts, we honor Him for His abundant blessings. The Psalms often connect praising God’s character with thanking Him for His provision (e.g. Psalm 103).

Ways We Acknowledge God

There are many ways we acknowledge the glory, goodness, and grace of God:

  • Praise – Extolling His attributes and praises
  • Thanks – Expressing gratitude for His blessings
  • Submission – Surrendering to His will and purposes
  • Dependence – Declaring need for His strength and sufficiency

As His people, we are called to acknowledge Him in all our ways (Proverbs 3:6). Our prayers provide a special opportunity to magnify His greatness.

Praising God for His Attributes and Works

One key way we acknowledge God is by praising Him for who He is and what He has done. As the supremely valuable and beautiful One, God is worthy of our worship.

Consider just some of God’s excellent attributes and works that elicit our praise:

God’s AttributesGod’s Works

In prayer, we praise God for who He reveals Himself to be, in all His glory and perfection. We also worship Him for what He has accomplished on our behalf, throughout history and our own lives.

The Psalms provide rich examples of praising God for His attributes and works:

  • “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.” (145:1)
  • “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (145:3)
  • “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” (145:8-9)

May our prayers resound with praises for our great and glorious God!

Thanking God for His Provision and Blessings

A second way we acknowledge God is by giving thanks to Him for His abundant provision and blessings. Every good gift finds its origins in the Father, who supplies all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

We owe gratitude to God for all aspects of our lives:

  • Physical blessings – food, clothing, health, shelter
  • Material blessings – finances, possessions, security
  • Relational blessings – family, friends, church body
  • Spiritual blessings – salvation, access to God, spiritual gifts

The Old Testament Levites model this posture of thanksgiving: “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise” (Nehemiah 9:5).

Reasons to thank God:

  • He hears and answers prayer
  • He forgives our sins
  • He gives us His Word and accessibility
  • He works out all things for our good
  • He sent Jesus to rescue us

Benefits of thanking God:

  • Deepens intimacy with God
  • Reminds us of blessings we take for granted
  • Guards against pride and self-sufficiency
  • Combats bitterness, entitlement, dissatisfaction
  • Frees us from anxiety as we acknowledge God’s faithfulness

Let us continually offer prayers of thanksgiving for God’s lavish gifts:

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!” (1 Chronicles 16:8-10).

Submitting to God’s Sovereignty and Will

As we bring our prayers to our wise and good Heavenly Father, a key way we acknowledge Him is through submitting to His ultimate sovereignty and will. This posture recognizes that God has supreme right and complete ability to accomplish His perfect plans.

What submitting to God’s will means:

  • Surrendering our agendas
  • Accepting God’s timing and methods
  • Acknowledging His right to say “no” to our requests
  • Resting in His plans when we don’t understand

Benefits of submission:

  • Aligns our hearts with what honors God most
  • Deepens trust in His flawless wisdom
  • Guards against disappointment and bitterness
  • Postures us to receive blessings God intends

The Bible connects acknowledging God with surrender:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).

As we submit our words, plans, and desires to our Father, we can have confidence that He rules over all things for our everlasting joy and His glory. What wondrous grace that He invites us to freely cast our cares upon Him!

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Depending on God’s Grace and Power

A final way we acknowledge God in prayer is by expressing dependence on His grace and power working on our behalf. As finite, fallen creatures, we contribute nothing meritorious toward our redemption and spiritual growth. Our only hope is found in the strength and sufficiency of Christ at work within us.

What it means to depend on God:

  • Turning from trust in our own works
  • Relying on the Spirit’s power to change us
  • Appealing to God’s grace to empower obedience
  • Acknowledging inability to accomplish anything of value apart from Him

Reasons we depend on God:

  • We are completely incapable of righteous action or spiritual success independent of God’s grace supplying power (2 Cor 3:5)
  • We cannot attain victory over sin solely by self-discipline or will power (John 15:5)
  • We can do nothing to earn salvation or merit more of God’s favor through good works (Eph 2:8-9)

King David models utter dependence upon the Lord:

“In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! . . . Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress . . . For you are my hope, O Lord God, my confidence from my youth.” (Psalm 71:1-5)

May we wholly rely on Christ our Rock, confident that He will supply whatever grace we need.


Acknowledging God through prayer involves praising Him for His glory, thanking Him for His goodness, submitting to His will, and depending on His grace. He is supremely worthy of all honor and praise as the all-sufficient Creator and Redeemer.

Discussion questions:

  1. Which aspect of acknowledging God comes most naturally: praise, thanks, submission, or dependence? Which is most challenging?
  2. What attributes of God most spark your praise when you reflect on them? How can you grow in praise?
  3. What specific provisions has God blessed you with recently? Are you remembering to thank Him?
  4. Do you tend to submit your words and plans to God before acting on them? How can you grow in submission?
  5. What areas of your life do you most struggle to fully depend on God rather than self? How can you surrender control to Him?

I hope this essay has provided a helpful overview of Biblical principles on acknowledging our great God. May our prayers increasingly magnify His supremacy and sufficiency. To Him alone be all glory, now and forevermore!

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