A thankful heart is a valuable asset. The New Testament reminds us to thank God “always for all things” (Ephesians 5:20) and to “in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). That’s a pretty tall order for most of us. Yet even in the midst of prayer about things that would otherwise make us anxious, the reminder remains that these prayers should be offered “with thanksgiving.”
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.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
If Paul could write that and mean it from his prison cell, I can probably pay attention at my desk. What’s more, if this attitude of prayer and thanksgiving leads, as it does, to God’s peace guarding my heart and mind, then I will have already received all that I need to keep going. God’s peace is the only acceptable substitute for a prayer that has yet to be answered. No doubt this very “peace of God” helped that apostle display such remarkable perseverance. I want to be like him when I grow up.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed-always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. -2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (NKJV)