Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6
It’s thanksgiving time, a time to focus on what we are thankful for in this year. It has been a year like none other that I have ever lived. Maybe it’s the same for you? It has been a year of colder temperatures, warmer temperatures, pandemic, riots, fires, anger, strife and confusion just to name a few of the “highlights”. What do we have to be thankful for?
Today’s verse starts out with don’t be anxious. It’s not a suggestions, it is actually a command. Some other words for anxious are: worried, concerned, apprehensive, fearful, uneasy, troubled, disturbed, distressed and afraid. So this verse starts out by saying “Don’t be anxious, worried, concerned, apprehensive, fearful, uneasy, troubled, disturbed, distressed and afraid!” This “command” looks impossible in today’s world. Thankfully, Paul goes on to tell us how we can accomplish it. He says, in everything, pray first. Then, with a thankful heart, lift up your requests to God your Heavenly Father. Oh, that’s good news! My Father is listening and wants to hear and answer my requests.
You may be thinking: “With a year like this, what do I have to be thankful for?” Here’s the thing…thankfulness is not in our circumstances, it is in our God! Here is what I am talking about. The second your heart starts to become afraid, worried or anxious, turn to prayer. Don’t let those worries and concerns take you deeper into fear and certainly don’t speak them out. Words will only reinforce those distresses in your heart and mind. Pray! The verse says prayer and supplication. That means to intercede in the situation. When you go to your Heavenly Father with your fear, you can pray: “Father, I am bringing these circumstances right to You. It doesn’t look good and many around are worried and afraid of what is to come. I have come to You in the name of Jesus to intercede in this situation. I bring this concern to you and open the door for you to reach into the circumstances and turn the situation around to bring good results” Then begin to be thankful! “I am so thankful LORD that You are bigger than this situation and I know You can handle it! Thank You for being my Father who cares and takes care of me! I thank you that you are stronger and more powerful than these issues and your protection reaches around my life and the lives of my loved ones.” You can thank Him for every promise you read in the bible and thank Him for how much He loves you! Your thankfulness is in Him, not in your problem.
Lastly, I will repeat verse 7 that promises the peace of God will come after you as you take this step of faith in intercession. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7) That’s how you know He has heard and will answer by the peace that He puts in the place of your anxiety. Pray, intercede and give thanks to Him and for Him!
Today I want to encourage you in the midst of turmoil and confusion to pray first. Turn to God immediately with your heart open and willing to trust Him. Begin to intercede for the things happening in your life and in the world. Then be thankful to your loving Heavenly Father that wants to get involved and work in our lives every day. Ultimately, His greatest interest is for us to reach out and bring others to His place of refuge. He wants us to go tell the rest of the world where to go when they are afraid. Build up your faith and confidence to the place where you can point others to Him and then teach them to pray and intercede too. Let’s spend this “Thanksgiving” time being thankful in our Savior, not our current crisis.
Today’s scripture reading: Philippians 4:3-7