Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God… – Philippians 4:6
Something came across my email the other day. It was a devotional. The verse being discussed was the one above. The troubling thing was how the particular Bible version changed it, “and thanking God for the answers…” Undoubtedly we should thank the Lord and praise Him as He answers our prayers in His faithfulness to us. We ought to thank Him for everything in everything. But it troubled me, as it was so shallow! It is so reflective of how we live though. It is not what God gives us but WHO He is!
As I thought about the verse, I was reminded how it is easy to take something to the Lord in prayer one minute and the next minute be walking away with the same burden. It may be a different flavor. It may be wrapped in a different package, but it’s the same burden. Perhaps you can relate. Preachers often give the illustration of picking up your burdens after you get up from prayer.
Why do we pick them up again?
Why do we carry them about all day?
Why at times does it seem there no peace?
Where’s the breakdown?
One thing the Lord has been showing me is how thankfulness is the connection between
Who He is and my present burden. It is too easy to follow the ACTS acrostic (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) , but to compartmentalize each of those. Maybe it is the list-maker in me. I love lists. I love making lists. I love making lists about my lists. I love making lists of new lists to make. I love writing things on my list just so I can check them off. But far too often I approach my prayer life subconsciously in list form: Adoration. Check. Confession. Check. Thanksgiving. Check. Supplication. Check. Amen. Now where did I put that list of worries? Jim Berg says,
Prayer is not worrying online… it’s remembering Who you are coming to.
The burdens and troubling thoughts that come to our minds are merely a springboard to lift our eyes toward the Lord, in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. We should not stop at thanking Him for all the blessings and answers to prayer. We need to go further. There must be thanksgiving for Who He is and how by His very nature and promises He bears our burden. This is giving our burden to the Lord. It isn’t a one time deal either. When our emotions scream, our thankful heart can say, “Shh. Calm down. Be still my soul. Thank you Lord for who You are and what You promise.” It will show you how well you know your God and how much more there is to know about Him!
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because He trusteth in Thee. – Isaiah 26:3