“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Difficulties have a way of swallowing us whole. They start consuming us bit by bit, and before we know it, we’re all in, struggling to come up for air. It’s in those moments that we tend to call on God.
Have you been there? Consumed by your circumstance, unsure of how you’ll ever get out of this one? You cry for help, desperation sending you to your knees. God is your last resort. Anxiety rules your heart instead of peace. Overwhelmed by your need, you can find nothing to be grateful for.
And that, dear one, fuels the problem. Gratitude holds the key to your release.
Look back at our opening Scripture. In Philippians 4:6, Paul calls us to pray—for everything. But he doesn’t just tell us to present our requests to God. He instructs us to do it “with thanksgiving.”
What does thanksgiving have to do with the power of our prayers? Thanksgiving recognizes the goodness of God, increasing your awareness of what God has already done for you. As you remind yourself of God’s faithfulness, your faith for your current circumstance will increase.
Repeatedly throughout Scripture, the Israelites were commanded to remember what God had already done for them. They would draw on the faith that remembering would produce to believe for their present situation.
- When facing battle to secure the land God had ordained for them, God instructed: “But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:18
- Again, in 1 Chronicles 16:11-12, the people were instructed to “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced.”
- And in Psalm 42:6 David writes, “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.”
Even David, the King after God’s own heart, struggled with a downcast soul. And He knew there was one way out—remembering what God had already done. No wonder Scripture teaches we should be “overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7).
When we offer gratitude to the Lord in the midst of our need, we change our focus. Instead of our thoughts resting on our need or negative circumstance, our thoughts now dwell on the goodness of God. And when your thoughts dwell on Him, you open yourself to hear from Him. Beloved, God can only lead you to victory when you’re listening.
Gratitude changes your perspective. Your gaze shifts from the enormity of your problem to your much greater God. From that view, your problem appears smaller. God gets bigger, and your heart begins to change.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:7
Peace comes with God’s presence. So does God’s power. Run to Him with your burden, and allow the Spirit to shift your thoughts away from your struggle. Release it to the Lord, and offer God gratitude for His faithfulness. Then expect to see Him move.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
Sounds like advice worth following.