Thankful prayers are pure worship

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2022

“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” — Philippians 4:4-8 (NKJV)

When we understand what God is offering us through our prayers, everything changes — we become more comfortable in prayer and more likely to “pray without ceasing.” For most of us, prayer is a means of asking for something positive, or valuable from God, whether it be a material blessing or some “favor” for ourselves or a loved one.

What Paul proposes in our passage above, is much more than what we usually ask of God; in fact, it is not gained by asking at all, it is gained by our drawing near to God with a thankful heart, and being satisfied with His will for our lives. This satisfaction with God’s will is where the “peace that surpasses all understanding” originates. Once we are the recipients of God’s peace, we realize that it was the goal all along. When we ask for a particular thing from God, or that He change our situation and circumstance, most often God does not change them, He changes us to be able to go through them with His help. Even though the situation still exists, we are changed and God’s peace reigns in our life.

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This discovery of God’s inimitable peace is priceless to Christians, and it changes our prayers that seek blessings, into prayers of thanksgiving for what God has done. I think you will find that beginning our prayers with thanking God for His Goodness, His Mercy, and His Grace, will fill us with peace and gratitude.

Ask God for what you need, and be assured that He always hears, and answers. Thanking God for what He has done is what John Wesley had in mind when he said, “Prayer is the grand means of drawing near to God”.

Prayers of thanksgiving are a pure form of worship; peace is the reward.

Rev. Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.