In part one of this series, we emphasised the importance of STEP 1 in the peace-unwrapping process: Prayer. Now, in this post, we will discuss the second step.
STEP 2: THANKSGIVING
The noun “thanksgiving” in the original Greek is directly linked to the goodness and grace of God. Its root words are eú (good) and xaris (grace). Hence, thanksgiving speaks about the giving of thanks for God’s good grace or, we could say, for His goodness and His grace. Let us return to the key passage of this BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING series, Philippians 4:6-9 and focus in on its first verse: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
We will first speak about the connection between prayer and thanksgiving. Now, in the verse above, thanksgiving is sandwiched between “prayers and supplications” and “let your requests be made known to God.” In short, thanksgiving is the peanut butter in the prayer sandwich. Leave it out and much of the enjoyment is taken away – for both requestor and requestee – and, much of the power is lost that the prayer should have generated. Why do I speak about loss of power? Thanking Him for answering our petitions declares to Him – and reminds us – that He fulfils His promises of being Deliverer, Healer, Provider, Way-Maker and Miracle-Worker. It gives Him the faith He needs with which to work in our situations. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” we read in Hebrews 11:6. Thanksgiving is nothing less than a faith declaration. We are declaring that, “There has not failed one word of all His good promise,” as we read in 1 Kings 8:56. This action in itself thwarts worry because we know that we are giving God our faith and it is impossible for Him to ignore faith. Rather, He must respond to it. Jesus declared, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:8). The Lord cannot resist genuine belief in Him!
Thanksgiving does not only consist of glorifying Him in advance for granting our petitions. It includes thanking Him for all the mighty works He has already performed for us. This also thwarts worry as it assures our hearts of His goodness and faithfulness. If He has rescued us so many times in the past, will He not do so again? Yes and amen! Our God does not change. He is not whimsical and fanciful. He does not waver like the winds or turn like the tides. He remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Practically, I encourage you to choose something that is worrying you and categorise it. In other words, does it relate to health, finance, provision, protection, family, career, intellect, your spiritual or social life? Now, make a list of a few key times in which the Lord has come through for you in the past in that specific category. Then, work through your list and thank Him aloud and joyously for each point. You will find, dear friend that your worry-filled heart will quickly become a wonder-filled heart!
Let me give you an example. I am praying for financial provision for an upcoming crusade. First, I thank the Lord in advance for answering my request. Then, I think back on some memorable moments of miraculous provision. One by one, I meditate on these instances and thank Him sincerely for such breakthrough moments of rescue. This is a simple practice but a highly effective one. I can assure you, following this session of prayer and thanksgiving, worry is on the run, whimpering as it goes!
Yes indeed, thanksgiving is the second step in conquering the worry monster. Praise the Lord in earnest, both thanking Him in advance for answering your prayer requests and also, thanking Him for every good thing with which He has blessed you and your loved ones. Thanksgiving is a very important step and not to be neglected.