By // Derek Jones
Am I alone, or have you ever experienced times in your life when anxiety is high, peace is hard to find and gratitude for your circumstances feels out of reach? My chest tightens just thinking of times my life felt out of control, the bills weren’t paid and my job was unbearable. In these seasons, I wanted to cry out to the Lord for help, but I didn’t know where to start. If you’re like me and feel the need to take an active role in letting God direct your path, anxiety and sleepless nights might be the only part we get to play. When we realize our active role in fixing an un-fixable situation is to dig into the bible, we find an important equation: PRAYER + GRATITUDE = PEACE.
In Philippians 4:4-7 we read:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.
This scripture isn’t recommending toxic positivity, by pretending our current situation isn’t soul crushing. It’s simply helping us to refocus by rejoicing in the Lord, despite our circumstances. It reminds us the Lord is near, even when focusing on the stress of today keeps us from seeing Him clearly. When we take a moment to be grateful for what God has done in our lives, He can provide peace beyond our understanding and protect our hearts and minds from falling deeper into the abyss of worry, speculation and uncertainty.
So, when I can’t confidently state what I need, I can boldly proclaim lists of things for which I am grateful. I can daily rejoice in the Lord for what He has done in my life and for those around me.
As I focus on gratitude in my prayers, I can trust Him for peace in my heart and mind. Grateful prayers can change us amid seemingly unchanging circumstances.