“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Recently my boss made the statement, “I have found that I make my requests to God and I petition for what I want, but am I doing it with thanksgiving?” His statement really made me think… Why is prayer so important? Why do I need to pray with thanksgiving? Why would I pray with Thanksgiving when my life is falling apart?
Prayer for us is like an intimate conversation between two friends. When I pray to God, I am talking to Him like He is my best friend, but a friend that deserves the utmost honor and respect. I know that in order to have a relationship with a person, you have to have conversations and dialogue. Just like I would talk to my best friend, I talk with God. I tell Him what my struggles are, what I am excited about, what I am fearful of and what is happening in life right now. However, I have found that I ask for a lot of things, I seem very needy…
So what does it mean to pray with thanksgiving? No matter whether things are going well or they absolutely suck, when I pray I have to have an attitude of God I am thankful for You, for Your provision through Your Son and for Your grace. Without any of those things, we would not be able to pray as we do, we would not be able to be saved and a relationship with Him.
It is so easy though to say all of this, but I didn’t really know what this concept looked like practically, then the unexpected happened. About a week before Thanksgiving, a woman very dear to my heart passed away. She had a massive stroke at the base of her brain stem- the absolute worse place to have a stroke. This woman turned 51 the day before the stroke. She was a doting mother of three, a wife of a faithful husband, daughter of loving parents, and an amazing sister. Her life was cut so short and the hardest part to grasp is that she loved God with EVERYTHING she had! So why would God allow her to die SO young? While she was on life support we had a large group of people praying over her and her family. We begged God for healing, but prayed for God to be glorified through this tragedy. When she passed away, it was very hard to be thankful to God for her death, but then we found out something that changed our perspective. When attempting to harvest her organs for donations, surgeons found cancer throughout her entire body. If she had lived, she would have had a very slow and painful battle with cancer, with no guarantee of survival. God spared her life in a quick and merciful act.
Seeing a bigger picture, it is clear that even in the deepest tragedies, we can pray to God with THANKSGIVING because He is Good!