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 to “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”? It is very easy for me to bring my prayers and petitions before God, but do I present them with thanksgiving? Sometimes, thanksgiving overflows naturally, especially when things are going well. But how about when things don’t go according to plan, or every day is a continual struggle, or it seems like everything in life is going in the wrong direction? At that point, giving thanks is often the opposite of what I want to do.
However, if every situation is supposed to be filled with thanksgiving, then that includes when life is hard, and gratitude must become a discipline. Even when my heart isn’t feeling it, when I intentionally turn my mind to the positive and thank God for what He is doing, my whole mindset begins to change. 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! Throughout the EQUIP training program, I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone in ways that I did not expect, and have been learning how to grow in difficult and unanticipated circumstances. As I’ve been taught different tools for engaging with unreached people groups, I’ve been thanking God regularly for the diversity in the body of Christ and how He uses our different gifts and talents 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 country and the world who joins 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