Anxiety has become an epidemic. But through thanksgiving we can turn our worry into worship.
Have you ever been worried?
As a new believer, a better question for me would have been, “Have you ever NOT been worried?”.
Since a small child, I had lived in a state of anxiety. Fear was my constant companion, imbedded into every fiber of my soul. I worried about everything. My entire life seemed to revolve around an attempt to calm my nerves. Looking back, I should of probably been on medication. But instead, I medicated myself with sugary drinks, food, cigarettes, and alcohol.
Even good things became a way to cope with my crippling anxiety: work, budgeting, exercise, eating better, and cleaning the house. Everything seemed to be fueled by fear!
So when I became a Christian, my spiritual activity was also tainted by worry. And here’s the thing: God has mercy on a young Christian. When we are first saved, our prayer is basically, HELP! And our heavenly Father is quick to respond. But eventually God wants us to grow up.
I want to share with you something the Lord has showed me about overcoming worry in my life. Philippians 4:6 says,
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.”
Notice, the first thing Paul says we have to deal with is worry. We need to learn to rest. Because…
- Praying is good, but praying anxiously is not good.
- Planning is good, but planning anxiously is not good.
- Pursuing our calling is good, but anxiously striving to accomplish it is not good.
But how can we not worry? The Lord has shown me that the key to keeping our peace is found in these two words: “with thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving is our weapon against worry and creates a buffer for our prayers—guarding our souls from fear, as we make requests to God.
Think about it: when we pray, we are bringing our problems and concerns to God. So it’s easy to get anxious as you recount and review all the problems you are facing. Before we know it, we are praying out of a troubled, doubting and fearful spirit. If we let this continue, our prayers even become accusatory towards God. “Aren’t You gonna help me, God?!”
But thank God! Thanksgiving clears our mind and drives anxiety from our hearts; because as we thank God, our attention is lifted off of our problem and onto the One who solves our problems. We’re reminded of all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do.
To stir your faith even more, learn to posture all your supplication (your “asking for stuff”) in a spirit of thanksgiving. Let me give you an example. Instead of praying:
“Father, I ask You to take care of this”
“Father, I thank You that You are taking care of this.”
Do you see the difference? Thanking Him vocalizes certainty and fights against worry. We are still bringing our problem to God, but in a way that magnifies Him and not the problem. We’re thanking Him for the answer. Thanking Him according to His Word. Thanking Him in faith.
Turn your worries into worship by letting these two powerful words—“thank You”—fill your prayers:
“Father, thank You that You have taken care of this. Thank You that Your Word says You’re sovereign and over all things. Thank You “that You work all things together for my good”. Thank You that I can rest while You work. Thank You that “the battle is the Lord’s”. Thank You that I can be still, and watch You do it. Thank You that not too long from now I’ll be looking back at this situation and marveling at how You worked it out for me!”