“Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 EHV
How do you define thankfulness or thanksgiving? Believers are unique when it comes to giving thanks. Faith in Christ turns our attention to divine love. We are thankful because of Jesus’ love for us and for all mankind. We understand every blessing comes from the hand of the Lord God Almighty who created the heavens, the earth and every thing in it. Our earthly blessings are beyond counting.
Our world all too often overlooks God’s gifts of spiritual blessings. All too many have lives consumed with worry. The Lord reminds us: “Do not worry about anything … ” We worry whenever left to our own human designs. Thankfully our loving, heavenly Father has greater plans for us. In fact, he shows us how to overcome worry. God’s answer is “by prayer and petition.” Turning to the Lord God in prayers turns our attention away from worry.
Our world promotes worry. Advertisers want us to worry about not having enough. For the present. For the future. Our media promotes potential problems. They want us to worry about what might happen. Or what might not happen. The list beyond our control seems endless. Thankfully we know the Lord God Almighty is in control of all things for our good — always.
Our Lord promotes contentment. When we have food and clothing, we are to be content with that. Our challenge is we have way too much food. Way too many clothes. All too often we think we still need more. Just a little bit more. But already we have too many choices. This is our limited earth-bound thinking.
“With thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Notice that the Lord God Almighty invites us to pray. Our loving, heavenly Father wants us to come often before his throne of grace with our requests. Our prayers are to be tempered with thanksgiving. We need not always come before the Lord with demands — or complaints.
The Lord’s Prayer has seven petitions. Six of those seven petitions direct our attention to all things spiritual. We are eternally thankful for the spiritual blessings the Lord God graciously and abundantly and freely gives. There are many. Our Savior Jesus. Forgiveness of sins. Eternal life. Peace that passes understanding. Contentment. Let spiritual thankfulness be the prevailing principle of our faith-filled prayers.
Heavenly Father, remind us to be thankful every day for every gracious gift you give us. Strengthen our faith. We seek this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Timm O. Meyer is at Living Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hays.