At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
// Matthew 11:25-27
It's instructive to observe Jesus at prayer, for it seems pretty obvious that if anyone knew how to pray, Christ did. So these verses set up the famous "Come to me all who are weary..." invitation by Christ, in which He promises to exchange our yokes and burdens for His own. So if these verses set up that exchange, then itmoves us to attend to Jesus' prayer about making such a trade.
Thanksgiving is how Jesus opens His prayer to the Father, and it's a key to life in the spirit. We open our prayer time with thanksgiving for, as the Psalmist states, "we enter His gates [doors] with thanksgiving." Thanksgiving re-postures our hearts so we can see that which The Lord has hidden for us. Thanksgiving is an under-explored, underused component of worship or prayer, and it's one, that we need to pursue with greater vigor. We can't get into His "courts of praise" unless we pass through the doorways of thanksgiving first!
So what's hidden in those courts, for Christ here says that God has hidden things in order to reveal them? Paul, in many of his letters, discusses how God has hidden in Christ every treasure of wisdom and revelation. The experiential knowledge of who God is has been hidden, like treasure, in Christ and only children can see and receive it. Thanksgiving helps us become as little children, so we can enter the hidden things of God's heart.
Remember, in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, how Alice had to shrink to the size of a rabbit in order to pass through a door to Wonderland? Thanksgiving has the power to shrink us to become as children, so we can enter in and see all of our Papa's kingdom. That shrinking ability, which thanksgiving has, we might also call humility. It's gratitude, that powerful dimension of worship, by which we shrink to our curious, childlike states, which are essential to finding treasures in Christ.
How might you expand your thanksgiving, so you can shrink down and thereby enter into hidden mysteries?
// Samuel Nicolosi