Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekly Impressions - Prayer with Thanksgiving

I wonder sometimes if God grows tired of reminding us things that He has already taught us.  How quickly and easily we forget!  I’ve been struggling a little more with anxiety recently, and realized that I had forgotten what it was that I needed to replace it with.  (I get this idea from verses like “...lay aside the old self... and put on the new self...” in Ephesians 4:22b, 24a.  We are to lay aside our old practices and put on the new practices.)  

The verse that God pointed me back to was the passage that partially spurred the institution of this blog in the first place:  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [emphasis added] 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  (See my About page for more.)

I am to pray with humility (supplication) and thankfulness.  What are my two main struggles right now?  Pride and anxiety.  Oh... right.  I am to replace those with humility and thankfulness.  And the first thing that I should do when I see that I’m headed that way is to pray.

It occurs to me that praying first is an act of humility, because prayer is recognizing that I am not in control.  In prayer, I am not to demand things of God.  I am to make my request known and to submit to His will.  I am to do this with thankfulness.  It isn’t a side note.  Being thankful is another act of humility for me, as I see being thankful as searching for God’s work in my life.  One reason that being thankful is the new act or “self” with which to replace the old, is that being thankful points you to the good that God has done in your life (the good that you can see).  It shows you that God has been faithful, and makes it easier to see that God will always be faithful.  I always like a faith booster.

To help remind me of this, my Biblical Counselor gave me an assignment to write out a short prayer to immediately lift up when I realize that I’m struggling.  It was to have the following four elements:  recognize the temptation to sin, ask for help with it, trust God, and thank God.  So here is the prayer that I wrote:

“Lord I see this temptation to [sin] and I pray for Your help and guidance.  Help me to entrust control of this situation to You.  Thank you for Answered Prayer.”  (After this, I have a note to look at my (shortened) list of thankful things.)  

I specifically chose Answered Prayer, because it points out to me the fact that God is hearing my prayer, and will choose how to answer.  The best part is that His choice will be the best for me.  That helps to put me in a mindset of trusting Him, and being thankful that I can trust Him.  

I plan on memorizing this little prayer, but my counselor had the brilliant idea of me having it in my phone (along with my thankful things list) so that I couldn’t forget each of those four elements.  My phone goes with me everywhere I go.  If it didn’t, he would have had me write it on a card to carry with me.  If you’ve ever been anxious, you know that it can be difficult to recall things.  (This isn’t an excuse not to memorize, but it is a valid point to not only memorize.)

I am glad that God has the Patience to remind us of what He has already taught us.  He will even help us come up with new ways not to forget.  The endurance of His patience is simply unfathomable to me.  I would have kicked myself to the curb long ago.  Which is another reason why I am thankful that God is God, and I am not.

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