Pray with Thanksgiving

Pray with Thanksgiving

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
—Philippians 4:6

After he went through his experience with cancer, Dr. David Jeremiah gave a helpful suggestion for praying with thanksgiving. He said to get out a sheet of paper and label it “My Worry List.” Then write down everything you’re worried about. If you need more than one page, fine. Just keep filling it out. Everything you’re worried about. That is your worry list. Then take another sheet of paper and title it “My Prayer List.” Now take the first thing on your worry list, draw a line through it, and write it on your prayer list. One by one, transfer everything that is on your worry list to your prayer list and pray about them regularly. Dr. Jeremiah says in his years as a pastor, he has discovered that people who have a worry list that is full and running over usually have an empty prayer list. And he said the opposite is true as well. Those who have a full prayer list usually have an empty worry list. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Notice how the apostle Paul refers to prayer in Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Whenever you pray, express gratitude to God for what He has already done for you. Thank Him for all He has done. Before you run into the presence of your heavenly Father with prayers of, “Give me, give me, give me,” remember to thank Him for what He has already done for you. For past prayers He has already answered.

In some ways, God is like we are as parents. Well, more accurately, as parents, we are like God is. The reason we as parents love to hear our children say thank you is because God is a heavenly Parent who loves to hear the words thank you from His children. We thank God as a way of worshiping Him. But thanking God also has a way of reassuring us. When we remember to thank God for what He has already done for us, it gives us assurance that in the same way that God has been faithful to us in the past, He will be faithful to take care of our current needs as well. We overcome worry when we pray with thanksgiving.

I don’t know about you, but I am more grateful sometimes for the things God said no to that I asked Him for than the positive answers He has given me.

There is no promise that God will give us everything we ask for. It’s like somebody once said: “Prayer doesn’t necessarily change our circumstances and make them better, but prayer always changes us and makes us better.” And we can be thankful for that!

***
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Outrageous Joy” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.