“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Php. 4:4-7)
Recently, the Lord has been reminding me of a principle of prayer that He had taught me years ago and I was forgetting. It was the principle of “praying with thanksgiving”. In other words, earnestly praying, even to the point of tears at times, but then leaving it in the hands of the Lord by giving Him thanks, not only for His ultimate answer to my prayers, but for the circumstances I was facing that required my prayers. That may sound counter intuitive, because many of those difficulties are directly caused by Satan or indirectly through people he controls. However, Paul learned that even though “the thorn in the flesh” he experienced, was “a messenger of Satan”, God had allowed it to develop his character. As a result, he chose “to delight in weaknesses”, believing that when he was weak he would get to experience God’s strength at work in and through him.
I believe, that by giving thanks in everything, our faith is released for God to respond to with powerful answers to our prayers. It also releases “peace that transcends all understanding”. This week, I met a man who is a psychologist. I asked him if the COVID season had affected his business. He told me that his workload had doubled because of it. He said he was dealing with so many people struggling with depression and anxiety, including children. Let’s not be like the Israelites going through the wilderness, who grumbled and complained every time they faced a challenging circumstance, but let’s learn to rejoice always and pray with thanksgiving, then we can experience that peace that guards our hearts and minds from depression and anxiety.