Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
This passage was written by the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit. From it, we’ve developed a framework for prayer called ACTS. This acronym stands for: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication.
In previous blog posts, I’ve talked about what it means to adore God in prayer and what it means to begin to confess honestly from our heart.
But, as we pray, it’s so important that we also remember to always give thanks. Why?
We’re commanded to give thanks.
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
We’re to pray with thanksgiving – not just when we feel like it, but as an act of our will and obedience. Regardless of what’s happening in our lives, we’re to thank God for the good, for the difficult, for the unknown, for the big decision we’re facing, and even for the challenging relationships.
Now, this isn’t, “Oh, God, I thank You that my wife has cancer.” Instead it is, “Thank You, God, that You are sovereign, You are all-knowing, You are with me, and You love my wife.”
My wife, Theresa, actually did have cancer and we went through a very difficult time. Yet it was possible for me to say “thank you” in the midst of it because I chose to surrender and acknowledge my faith in an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
Thanksgiving alters our perspective.
When we actively and proactively give thanks, it forces us to take the focus off our problems and on to who God really is.
Just a few mornings ago when I was feeling particularly stressed, Hebrews 13:15 came to my mind: Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
This spurred me to pray: “Lord, I thank You so much for how You have helped me this week in battling discouragement. Thank You, Jesus, for Theresa, her recovery, and how You are allowing her to experience energy and joy again…”
I was reminded again how much thanking God always changes my perspective and gives me peace, especially when I’m feeling overwhelmed or facing a lot of pressure.
So the next time you’re discouraged, I encourage you to thank God in your prayers. And as you do, God promises that not only will your perspective change, but you’ll also begin to experience more of His peace, kindness, compassion, and His love.
“Shout joyfully for the Lord. Serve the Lord with gladness; come into His presence with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God. It is He who made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise; give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His loving kindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100)
To learn more about prayer, sign up for our FREE online discipleship series entitled “How to Experience God in Prayer.”
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip