"Recently I was quite anxious about a particular, painful circumstance in my life," wrote Cynthia Heald in her book Becoming a Woman of Freedom. She said she prayed as she had never prayed before but remained anxious and unable to experience the peace of God.
As she meditated on Philippians 4:6, 7 (wondering why it wasn't working!), she realized that she was doing everything Paul said to do except to pray with thanksgiving. "To be honest, I couldn't think of anything I could really be thankful for in this situation. But Paul says to pray and ask with thanksgiving--the peace of God will follow."
As she began to pray with thankfulness--thanking God for hearing her requests, His love and understanding of her hurt, His sovereignty and power--then, and only then, did she begin to know the peace of God that transcends understanding. Her circumstances had not changed, but she was no longer "tied up" inside. She was free to trust.
When Jesus was about to feed the 5,000, He broke the loaves and then gave thanks before they were multiplied. He knew His Father would do what He trusted Him to do, so thanksgiving was in order.
Jesus was showing us that we are to give thanks before He blesses our efforts and before we see the answer to our prayers. Perfect faith gives thanks while we're waiting. We know He is going to provide, and we're so thankful!
Dear Jesus, help me to remember that anxiety is a call to prayer and thanksgiving.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).