by Kenneth E. Hagin
The Bible exhorts believers to pray always (Eph. 6:18). Along with their continual fellowship with the Lord through prayer, they can also fellowship with Him through thanksgiving and praise. In fact, praise is a type of prayer that every Christian should master.
The Psalmist David praised God at least seven times a day (Ps. 119:164). But God is worthy of thanks and praise always—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anytime is time to give thanks and praise to God!
We’re going to look at a number of scriptures dealing with “thanksgiving” or “giving thanks” so we can understand the vast importance of this subject in the life of the believer. For the Christian, every day should be a day of giving thanks to God.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known unto God.
The Holy Ghost said through the Apostle Paul, in effect, “Let your requests be made known to God with thanksgiving.” Looking at this from a natural standpoint, suppose someone prepared a delicious casserole for you. You ask for the recipe, so the person who made the casserole gives you the recipe. You want to prepare the same dish, so you begin making the casserole, thinking you’re following the recipe. Yet your casserole doesn’t turn out like the one the other person made. As you look back over the recipe, you realize you left out an ingredient!
Similarly, many people make requests to God—they pray and supplicate, begging favors of God—but they leave out something. They leave out thanksgiving, so their prayers don’t work!
Let’s look at Philippians 4:6 again and take it step by step. First, it says, “Be careful for nothing.” That phrase is a little blind to us today. The Amplified Bible reads, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything . . . .” We’re not supposed to worry. We’re not supposed to be fretful or anxious. Well, what are we going to do, then? The next part of that verse says, “. . . but IN EVERY THING by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” In how many things are we supposed to make requests to God? In all things—little things, big things, middle-sized things, and everything in between! And we’re supposed to make our requests with thanksgiving!
So if there’s something in life, a situation or circumstance, that you might be tempted to worry about, what are you going to do? You’re not supposed to worry—you’re supposed to pray! And you’re not just supposed to pray. You’re supposed to pray with thanksgiving!
This is where we’ve missed it. Some have already missed it in that they never obeyed the first part—they never let go of the fretting and the anxiety—and that hinders their prayers. But even if they obey that part and cast their cares and anxieties over on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7), they can still miss it in their praying if they’re not mixing thanksgiving with it.
This reminds me of a scripture in the Old Testament that talks about thanksgiving.
4 Enter into his gates WITH THANKSGIVING, and into his courts WITH PRAISE: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
How are we supposed to enter into God’s Presence? With fear and fretting? Overwrought with cares and anxieties? No! We’re to turn loose of all that and enter into His Presence with thanksgiving and praise.
Through the years, I can remember entering into God’s Presence with thanksgiving and praise. I intended to go to Him with a petition, but I entered in with thanksgiving, because I knew what the Word said on the subject.
As I praised God, I often ended up just thanking and praising Him. I didn’t even turn in any of my requests, because I got my answers while I was thanking God! I believe that’s why the Holy Ghost said in Philippians 4:6, “Mix thanksgiving with your praying.”
I am reminded of a certain time when my daughter Pat was about three years old and became sick. She had a high fever, so Oretha and I prayed. Later that night as I was getting ready to study, I laid my hand on Pat’s forehead as she slept, and her skin was just as hot as it was when we prayed.
I didn’t pray about that situation again. First, I praised God, just thanking Him because He is who He says He is. He’s the Creator. He’s my Father. I thanked Him for the privilege of prayer, and I thanked Him that Jesus took my baby’s infirmities and bare her sicknesses (Matt. 8:17).
Really, that’s where we missed it the first time—we left out the ingredient of thanksgiving. But while I praised God this time, with my hand still on Pat’s brow, her forehead went from hot to cool beneath my hand. The fever left!
I want to make it clear that while I gave thanks and praise to God on Pat’s behalf, at no time did I thank God for the sickness. People get confused in this area, because First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
This verse is not talking about giving thanks to God for everything—it’s talking about giving thanks to Him in everything, and that means something different altogether. In other words, you wouldn’t thank God because your baby is sick. You would thank Him in that situation, because it’s another opportunity to exercise faith and receive from Him.
God does not make little babies sick—the devil does that (see John 10:10). In fact, in many instances in the Gospels, we see Jesus rebuking sicknesses, such as fevers. Well, God would not rebuke Himself, would He? Certainly not!
Let’s look at some more verses in Psalms concerning this subject of giving thanks to God.
14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
God is pleased with our thanksgiving and praise. It is His will that we come before Him with offerings of thanksgiving. The last part of First Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS CONCERNING YOU.”
Another scripture in the Psalms says, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord . . .” (Ps. 150:6). Well, that means you, doesn’t it! The phrase “everything that hath
breath” includes every one of us. It doesn’t leave out a single one of us. As long as we’re breathing, that verse is talking about us!
Let’s look at another New Testament scripture that deals with thanksgiving, or giving thanks.
12 GIVING THANKS unto the Father, which hath made us meet [or able] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Because Paul was writing this letter to the whole Church, not just the Church at Colossae, it also applies to us today. God made us able to be partakers of the inheritance! Some Christians don’t even know they have an inheritance. And some who do know think they’re going to have to wait until they get to Heaven to receive it. We need to understand that we have an inheritance down here, right now, in this present world.
This verse in The Amplified Bible reads, “Giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified and made us fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints . . . .”
I’ve heard people say, “I’m so weak and unworthy. I’m not fit for a thing.”
They need to stop lying! I know they’re not intentionally saying something that isn’t true. But they are fit to enjoy their share, their portion, of the inheritance! Is it because of them and what they’ve done? No! It’s because the Father has qualified them!
What is the inheritance? Verse 13 tells us: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” We have been delivered from the power of darkness—from the control and dominion of darkness. Think about that! That word “darkness” includes everything the devil is and has. But we’ve been delivered!
If you ever start believing that, you will not hesitate to give thanks to God continually, and you will put the devil on the run every time!
There’s even more to the inheritance. Verse 14 says, “In whom we have redemption. . . .”
Redemption from what? Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law . . . .”
Well, what is the curse of the Law? If we’ll go back to the Law, we’ll find that, first, it’s spiritual death. Second, it’s poverty. And third, it’s sickness and disease. We’re redeemed from all three right now. That’s why we’re giving thanks!
So we know we’re supposed to thank God for our inheritance, our redemption in Christ. And we know we’re supposed to enter His Presence with thanksgiving. We also know from Philippians 4:6 that we’re supposed to pray, or make requests, with thanksgiving. What are the results of praying with thanksgiving? Let’s look at the next verse.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Thank God for His peace! When you pray with thanksgiving according to Philippians 4:6, that peace will keep your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus.
Many psychologists and psychiatrists today talk about the mind as if it’s the heart of man. But here in Philippians 4:7, the word “heart” is talking about your spirit. The word “mind” means your soulish area, the area of your intellect and emotions.
The peace of God will keep both your spirit (your heart) and your emotions (your mind). But notice that this peace is not an unconditional promise, even though some proclaim it as a blessing that simply belongs to us in Christ. Although this blessing has been made available to us, the conditions to receive this peace are detailed in Philippians 4:6.
In other words, you will not have verse 7’s peace in your heart and mind without first putting into practice verse 6. Verses 6 and 7 state, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. AND the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
We could read those verses this way: “Don’t worry. Instead, in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. Then the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.”
Let’s look at the phrase in verse 7, “. . . which passeth all understanding . . . .” In other words, it’s a peace you can’t understand. Your intellect can’t comprehend that supernatural peace. And often, other people—even other Christians—don’t understand it when you’re walking in that peace. They think you should be worried or, at the very least, overly concerned about whatever problem you are dealing with.
But you practiced the Word. You let go of fretting and anxiety. You prayed and made your request known to God with thanksgiving. And now His peace is permeating your heart and mind. Even in the midst of a test or trial, you can be full of joy, because you’re not fretting or having any anxiety about it. You cast all of your care over on the Lord. Now He’s carrying the load. He’s bearing it, and you are carefree! God is working on your problem—even while you’re asleep!
So go to sleep full of joy. Go to sleep every night and wake up every morning giving thanksgiving and praise to God. You will be pleasing Him and reaping great benefits as you do!
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