Monday, May 20, 2013

Prayer + x = Peace?

moonflower buds

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:5b-7, ESV).

     When prayer teams up with gratitude, when you open your eyes wide enough to look for God's mercies in the midst of your pain, He meets you with His indescribable peace. It's a promise: prayer + thanksgiving = peace.
     Prayer is vital, yes. But to really experience His peace in the midst of problems, you must come to Him with gratitude. Costly gratitude. The kind that trusts He is working for your good even in unpleasant circumstances. The kind that garrisons your troubled heart and mind with His unexplainable peace.
   ~Nancy Leigh DeMoss, The Quiet Place, May 17
This reminder came perfectly timed for me Friday. Sometimes the prayer and supplication weigh a person down, and kneading them together with thanksgiving lifts and lightens the load with a reminder of the character of the God to whom I pray.

He is good, and his steadfast love endures forever. His loyal love never fails. Never. As Ann Voskamp writes often on her blog, "God is always good, and I am always loved." Offering thanksgiving in the midst of the hard things brings that home to me all over again, or perhaps just brings it down, down from mere cognitive awareness to experiential knowledge.

Let's not wait until things get better to thank God, my friends. Let's thank Him now. Let's draw near to the God of peace with gratitude, whatever the cost, and find that He has drawn near to us with the true peace which is only His to give.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life (Philippians 4:6-7, The Message paraphrase).

Yes, Lord. Teach us to pray.

Jesus, I come. Thank You for all your goodness in these past few days:
for "a word in season"
for a slow, substantial read finally finished
for more nights of good sleep than bad lately
for hugs from family
for no urgent medical appointments this weekend
for praying friends
for a friend's new puppies
for tea delivery arriving
for a new book in the mail
for mail-order prescriptions that fill and arrive smoothly
for a visit to the butterfly festival in the last hours of the last day

for Amore coming with me this year

for Ebony's "I love you" face

for birds to watch
for the mockingbirds' serenades
for the moonflowers' return
(from my rebooted gratitude journal, # 339-354)

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