Prayer and Thanksgiving: Before, Not After

Typically, thanksgiving comes after. After the answer. After the reconciliation. After the storm has ceased. After. 

If we remember.

Yet, in the New Testament, Paul linked prayer with thanksgiving.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.”

Philippians 4:6-7 “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.”

Perhaps Paul sought to help us balance our asking by giving thanks for what we already have. Thanksgiving reminds us of three things:

Previous Provision: As we pray, we remember God has come through for us before and He will do so again. Journal these times so you can go back to them and give thanks. Deuteronomy 8:3-4 reads, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” Remember His previous provision and thank Him for what’s coming.

Continued Presence: Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’” Thanksgiving reminds us God has never left our side. We can thank Him in advance because we know even as our words hit His ears, He is working. Remember His constant presence.

Future Plans: Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Thanksgiving reminds us we can trust God with the unknown. With the not yets, but soons. With the one days. As we pray, He plans, and He plans for our good. Remember He holds our future, so thank Him for it now.

Paul advised us to balance prayer with thanksgiving. How? Find one thing for which you are thankful in spite of a challenging person or circumstance you are lifting up in prayer. Every challenge provides God an opportunity to show up and show off.

Thank Him in advance.

Workout of the Week: Prayer and Thanksgiving

Memory Verse: “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.” Philippians 4:6-7

Meditation Passage: Philippians 4

Do It: Thank Him in advance.