“…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”(Philippians 4:6b)
Have you ever considered why we are told in this scripture to present our requests “with thanksgiving?” It seems a slightly odd concept in our culture; isn’t it usual to say thank you after the fact, not in anticipation of an answered request? In part 2 of this short series on prayer, here are a few thoughts on why we pray with thankfulness.
It Shifts our Focus
A thankfulness attitude is an amazing mood changer. When we are deliberate and purposeful in our thanksgiving towards God, despite what our emotions are telling us in the moment, our focus begins to shift from what we don’t have to what we do have. In this simple act of thankfulness we say to ourselves, to those around us, and to God, that we choose to trust God.
It Strengthens Our Faith
Thankfulness builds and strengthens our faith. When we pray with thankfulness, we remind our own hearts of the truth that God really is able to help us, that His nature is good, kind, gracious, loving; and that He is willing to help us.
God wouldn’t tell us to pray if He were not a God who answers prayer.
It Reminds us of Who is in Control
God knows us completely. We thank Him when we pray because we know that He will answer our prayers in the way that is truly for our best. No one knows us better than He does, so if He answers in way that is different than we expected, we thank Him because we trust that our lives could not be in safer hands than the All Powerful one who knows all, and sees all!
Thankfulness Restores Peace
Being thankful helps us to have the peace and joy our Father intends for us, rather than fear and anxiety.
As we pray, filled with thankfulness, anxiety is replaced by the peace that only God can bring, as verse 7 tells us: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)