Saturday, September 1, 2012

Praying with Thanksgiving

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” Psalm 5:3


Yesterday morning I found myself praying for the fourth day in a row for God to heal my daughter from the flu she had been suffering from. (Yes this is the same daughter who had about the same type of flu just two weeks ago.) As I was praying though, I got the overwhelming feeling to thank God for already healing her. So in all earnestness and complete faith that the work of healing had already been completed in my daughter, I thanked God for the healing He had already done and I waited with expectation that when she awoke she would be healed from her sickness.

Well, God does not disappoint. When Maggie woke up yesterday she was smiling and almost beaming with radiance as she proclaimed to me, “I am better.” All I could do is turn to God and thank Him again and then rejoice with my daughter and share with her the story of how God had desired for me to pray for her healing with thanksgiving.

Paul, in two separate letters, wrote about this type of praying. Read what he wrote to the Philippians and the Thessalonians:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

...pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

Anxious thinking is a common pattern our human minds fall prey to when we do not have faith that what we, or those we love, are experiencing is for good. The cure to anxiety is prayer – prayer that realizes the mind cannot change circumstances through worry, but rather that thanksgiving in circumstances allows worry to leave and peace to come in where worry once resided. Even if an experience does not end when we start choosing to be thankful, the Spirit of the Lord when we allow Him to do so, is able to hedge in worry and rein in our anxious thoughts so that God's peace takes over where our sinful nature would have been before we had allowed prayer to do its perfect work in our situation.

Even more so, the verses from Thessalonians are very clear that praying with thanksgiving is more than just a good idea for every believer to practice – they are God's will for us to practice. In Jesus they are God's will because in Jesus we already have been given all that we need and the conclusion for what we are experiencing is already known by God and has been worked out for the greatest good.  Acting or thinking in any other way contrary to what God has already willed to be done in our lives in the future is not living in faith, but rather living in distrust and rebellion towards God.

The verses below from 1 John and Matthew are promises from God that our needs in God are fulfilled as we pray to Him through the power granted us through Christ Jesus our Lord, and what glorious and heartwarming promises they are to those who have found themselves in the most desperate of places where the light of hope has been dimmed.

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

God wants us to ask with bold requests, open eyes, and boisterous petitioning so that what we receive from Him is not missed as that which He wants to do in our lives. Without our involvement in requesting His will in our lives and seeing beforehand in faith the desires God wants to fulfill in our lives for us, we would completely miss that what was to come about in our lives was His work – we could easily pass it off as good fortune or luck if we did not know we were to have open and expecting eyes for the answer to our request to come from our Father in heaven through the power of His Son who desires to be part of every moment in our lives.

Have you been holding onto your worry and anxiety in a situation but not really believing that requesting God's help in our situation will make it any better? Have faith in the Lord and let go of your tight grip and instead allow the Lord to work as you thank Him for all He desires to do beyond what you could even conceive is possible as an answer to your situation - doing so will be perfect obedience to His will in your life.

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