Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
1Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We are all susceptible to letting the stress and hardships of our trials cloud our perspective. In that place we find our love, joy, peace and hope deflating like four punctured tires. Life just does not roll well on selfishness, resentment, anxiety and despair.
How shall we keep our bearings through times of testing? “By prayer with thanksgiving”! In “prayer with thanksgiving” we proclaim God as sovereign and good. We acknowledge our dependence upon Him, and we declare our trust in His most-wise help.
We usually have no trouble bringing our troubles to God in prayer. The thanksgiving part is the challenge. Yet our asking needs to arise from the foundation of thanksgiving. Why? Because giving thanks to the Lord “in everything” is vital to keeping our spiritual bearings.
Thanksgiving is intrinsically a reminder of God’s goodness secured toward His people through faith in Christ. The essence of thanksgiving is acknowledgment of the goodness of a gift received. God commands His people to thank Him in all circumstances because in all circumstances He is giving us something good. The wrapping paper in which His gifts come to us may not be pleasant, but make no mistake, the Heavenly Father is giving and doing good for His beloved children in our every circumstance (Romans 8:28). Jesus declared that if even evil men know how to give good gifts to their children, “how much more will your Father who is in heaven give you what is good” (Matthew 7:11)! After all, “every good and every perfect gift is from the Father above” (James 1:17).
The call to thanksgiving is a call to see, with the eyes of faith, beyond the pain of our affliction, to the glorious good that God is working through our temporary trials (2Corinthians 4:16-18). How much wiser and more effective will be our prayers and responses in the place of suffering if we keep our spiritual bearings! “Lord, I thank you that you are working in this trial I am going through. Of course, I long for soon relief from it, but I ask that you would help me to see what you desire from me in this situation. How could I respond in this circumstance that would display the beauty of Jesus, that would show what He is like? Thank you, again, Lord, for your good gifts in this place of trial.”
How practiced are you at daily keeping your spiritual bearings “in all circumstances, through prayer with thanksgiving”? What are you dealing with today, in which you need to apply this?