You have no items in your shopping cart.
Being familiar with heart healing, you probably have learned to recognize when you are struggling with fear and anxiety.
When we feel these emotions, we look to God to help us. We pray, asking Him for support, and we even supplicate our prayers. Supplication means to earnestly and passionately share a specific need with our Father.
“God, hear my prayer! Answer me, answer me! I need Your HELP!”
All of this is good, of course. God is our Father, and He treasures our prayers.
But oftentimes our prayers, even with supplication, do not fully release the relief we are hoping for.
Have we prayed with supplication—and with thanksgiving?
In our desperation, we often skip right over the “with thanksgiving” part of prayer.
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. (Phil. 4:6–7 NKJV)
Gratitude Gets the Car Moving
Giving thanks is fundamental in our fight against fear because the peace of God comes after we are thankful. The peace follows the thanksgiving.
This is how I like to picture gratitude and our walk with God—it is kind of like driving a stick shift. The car might be in gear and the engine might be redlining, but until we let out the clutch, the car won’t move.
Being thankful looks like letting out the clutch. Until that happens, we are just revving the engine. That is how important it is to follow our prayers with thanksgiving before the Lord.
Belief and gratitude are activators of faith. There can be no faith unless there is first some measure of belief, and gratitude is an act of faith because we are believing that God will answer our request.
Gratitude’s Role in Prayer Ministry
As an Elijah House pastoral minister, I often encourage people to thank the Lord as a part of their prayer sessions.
Let’s say I’m praying with someone who is struggling with an intense sense of shame over something that happened during their childhood. I might encourage them to pray this way: “Ask Jesus to take the shame from you.”
After the person prays accordingly, I tell them, “Now thank Him for taking the shame, because He did.”
(This is in reference to 1 John 1:9 and how He cleanses us “from all unrighteousness,” which includes the different ways sin can affect us, like feelings of shame.)
Thanking God creates movement in our spirit. It inspires the mind and heart to see the situation from a position of greater faith.
“Wait a minute. Maybe that actually happened! Maybe Jesus really is listening to my prayers. Maybe He DID remove the shame, and I don’t have to carry it anymore.”
Think about what you, personally, are struggling with today. What are you asking the Lord for? Have you thanked Him for hearing your prayers and for giving you what you asked Him for?
“Jesus, thank You for helping me through that difficult meeting.”
“Thank You for giving me the courage to address this misunderstanding with my friend.”
“Thank You for giving me wisdom about how to repair the problem with my car.”
The outcome of thanksgiving is an increase in faith. Faith, as Hebrews 11:1 says, is being confident about what we don’t see yet. We may not be able to hold in our hands the fruition of what we have asked God for—but we choose to believe it is going to come, and gratitude helps us reach this point of faith and knowing.
Belief becomes more settled and tangible in our spirit every time we thank the Lord.
How Gratitude Affects the Father’s Heart
Another beautiful thing about gratitude is how much it affects Father God’s heart.
When Marjorie and I adopted our daughter, we taught her to thank us for what we did for her. She didn’t understand the words thank you when she first came into our family (she was 9 years old at the time), but we quietly, steadily emphasized them until she started using them.
I would frequently say to her, “You know, honey, when you are thankful, my father’s heart wants to give you more.”
Is God any different with us? When He gives us a gift, and we respond with thankfulness, our gratitude inspires Him to give us more. There needs to be a response. When someone shows appreciation, the giver is blessed to such an extent that the Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive. As we thank the Lord, we are blessing Him more than He just blessed us.
What Are You Thankful For?
The last three years have been a storm of fear and anxiety for many people, and you likely have felt fear’s weight strongly at certain times.
As 2022 draws to a close, consider what you are thankful for. Don’t do this simply because of the season. “It’s Thanksgiving. This is what I am supposed to do.” No, but do this as a strong attack against fear—knowing that your gratitude will bless your Father’s heart.
Giving thanks is just a simple “Thank You” to the Lord, to whatever degree we can understand it or feel it. As we thank Him, we are essentially “confessing” our gratitude. With the heart we believe, which results in righteousness, and with the mouth we confess, which results in salvation for us (Rom. 10:10).
Our gratitude brings joy to the Father’s heart. He wants to give us more, and we make room to receive His “more” by being thankful. The result of following through Philippians 4:6–7 is that we come to a peace that “surpasses all understanding.” Being thankful opens the door for God’s peace and the resolution we seek concerning the anxiety and fear we are struggling with.
The other day I was reading The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer, a writer who frequently leaves me gobsmacked.
In this particular book, he was talking about how we need to shift our interest from the seen to the unseen—the great reality that is God. He referenced Hebrews 11:6, which talks about how anyone who comes to God must believe He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
I have a tendency to focus on the first part of that verse: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” I don’t always think about how He rewards me just because I am seeking Him. All I have to do is look for His face, and He will reward me—no ifs, ands, or buts.
As I considered this, I began to feel so thankful. If you are like me, you can probably be hard on yourself sometimes. “I need to do this thing and this thing to really be ‘seeking’ God. I need to pray for half an hour three times a day! There are RULES.”
But I am thankful for the simplicity of Hebrews 11:6—that all I or anyone else has to do is believe He is real and seek Him diligently. There is such peace and relief in this thought.
May your heart really understand today that if you are seeking Him, He is going to reward you for it.
Director of Operations
Also be the first to know about Elijah House® upcoming schools and events!