There is a special formula mentioned in the Bible for prayer requests, including detailed instructions to use even before prayer is offered. Philippians 4:6 (AMPC) states, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God."
Offering thanksgiving to God isn’t done because it’s the polite thing to do. We’re required to offer God thanksgiving as a vital part of each prayer request. Often, after offering God an emotionally charged prayer, we still wonder if He will answer us with the specified blessing we requested. God knows that there are times when we will pour out our hearts to Him according to how we’re feeling at the time. He wants us to be real, and, in being real, He also wants us, even during a passionate time of prayer, to never forget to be thankful.
So what are we to be thankful for? In this instance, we’re not being prompted to offer thanksgiving for life in general, but rather for God’s solution for the request we’re presenting to Him at that time. When we’re desperately praying during our time of needing God’s intervention, it’s so easy for us to forget to thank God. Truly thanking God occurs when we believe wholeheartedly that God heard our prayer and will assuredly answer us with His best.
According to the scripture above, the first course of action we’re to take before we even pray is to refuse to worry or be anxious. We are to always, on contact of encountering a problem, replace anxiety with a prayer that includes thanking our Lord. This is a useful formula and template for prayer that will help us to always offer to God what He accepts and also encourages us to pray in accordance to how He wants to be approached with our requests.
What is the result of using this formula every time we pray? The next verse of our scripture text, Philippians 4:7 (AMPC), joyfully declares, "And God's peace (shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace) which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Therefore, when we believe instead of worrying and pray in place of anxiety, offering sincere thanksgiving from our hearts in prayer, the only result we should ever experience is peace. The encouraging part of that scripture for me is that we will actually be given peace that comes directly from God Himself. Oh, what joy to know that we don’t ever have to worry when we pray and thank God for His care because He accepts this type of praying and even blesses us with His peace while we wait for the miracles He so readily desires to give us all.
Dr. Shane Wall is the senior pastor of The Feast of the Lord church in Orangeburg.
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