Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekly Impressions - Prayer with Thanksgiving

Philippians 4:6-7
"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."

I wonder sometimes if God grows tired of reminding us of things He's already taught us. How quickly we forget! I’ve struggled a little more with anxiety recently, and realized I forgot what it was I needed to replace the anxiety 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 God pointed me to was the verse above, which partially spurred the genesis of this blog in the first place: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (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. Right. I am to replace those with humility and thankfulness. And the first thing I should do when I’m headed that way is pray.

Praying first is an act of humility, because to pray is to recognize 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 - and 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. It points me to the good God has done in my life (the good I can see). It shows God has been faithful, and makes it easier to see God will always be faithful. Proof of His faithfulness helps in the hard times.

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 I’m struggling, including the following four elements: recognize the temptation to sin; ask for help with it; trust God; and thank God. So here is the prayer I wrote:

“Lord I see this temptation to [insert sin here] 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 short list of thankful things.  

I specifically chose Answered Prayer, because it reminds me God hears my prayer, and chooses how to answer. The best part is, His choice is the best for me. This helps me trust Him and be thankful I can trust Him.  

I memorized this little prayer, but my counselor suggested I keep it in my phone (along with my thankful things list) so 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 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 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 I am thankful God is God, and I am not.

What lesson has God been reminding you of lately? What might help you remember?

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