Another holiday season has rolled around, and there are so many things to be grateful for! But do you ever struggle like I do to follow Paul’s admonishment: “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God?” It’s very easy for me to bring my prayers and petitions before God, but do I present them with thanksgiving? When things are going well, thanksgiving flows naturally. But what about when things don’t go according to plan, or every day is a struggle, or it seems like everything in life goes in the wrong direction? At those times, giving thanks is often the opposite of what I want to do.
However, if every situation is supposed to be filled with thanksgiving, that includes when life is hard; gratitude must become a discipline. Even when my heart isn’t feeling it, my mindset begins to change when I intentionally turn my mind to the positive and give thanks to God for what He is doing. Whenever I practice the discipline of gratitude, I begin to see all of the ways God is working, even in the middle of my toil. Then, organic thanksgiving overflows as I praise Him and present my requests to Him.
God has continually confirmed that I am in a season of learning and growing! During the Equip training program, I have been pushed outside my comfort zone in ways I never expected, and have learned to grow in difficult and unanticipated circumstances. I’ve thanked God regularly for the diversity in the body of Christ and how He uses our differences to complement one another as we fulfill His commission to make disciples. I am thankful not only for my community here in NYC, but also for my support system around the world who join me in the harvest.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6