“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts, and you’re minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7
If you are anything like me, you have moments of anxiety that keep you in a stand still. As a mother of five, I’ve experienced this more than I’d care to admit.
I remember pacing my living room with several prayers for each child. The most consuming ones came to the top. The requests came flooding in, “Lord, please intervene here…heal there…move mightily in this.” I could feel my heart beating a little faster as I thought about each situation. Anxiousness comes when we project powerlessness into the future. At that moment, I felt exactly that, powerless!
I pulled to mind a verse I have memorized and used often…a verse you probably already know well from Philippians 4:6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.”
I immediately noticed a pattern in my prayer life that needed to be altered. Scripture says as we make our requests known to the Lord we do it with thanksgiving!
So instead of starting prayer with my request, I put it on hold temporarily and began to thank God immediately. God, thank you for what you have done so far in this child’s life. Thank you that you work all things together. Thank you that you have given us immediate access to the throne room of God. Thank you for this quality in my child. Thankfulness begets more thankfulness.
Sometimes they poured out quickly, other times it took a little more work;) But what happened was miraculous! The peace of God, as I thanked him, overwhelmed me. It felt like a warm blanket that held me tight. It was true peace in the midst of my circumstances.
Science now confirms that when humans feel gratitude, the brain produces oxytocin, a hormone important to bonding. It’s the same chemical released when mothers give birth or couples unite physically. It is a chemical that alters relationships and perceptions. So when this chemical begins to be constantly released in your prayer life, through gratitude, it will both strengthen your relationship with God and cause you to see Him differently.
If thankfulness is the will of God (which God’s word confirms is true) then I know I’m aligning myself with the Lord and His promises. What a better way to pray!
If you find yourself throughout the year feeling anxiousness as you pray…make it your new goal to let thankfulness and gratitude take over first, before any and every request you bring to your Father. It will be a gift to both you and God. ~Lori Benham