Terry R. Baughman
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
Those who are constantly asking for something without taking time to express gratitude become beggars, the ones who subsist on the meager donations of charity. However, those who adopt an attitude of thanksgiving will find their requests are embraced and the outpouring in response to gratitude is more than enough and the supply is never ending.
God’s Word teaches us to come to Him with our needs; boldly ask, seek, and knock with the full expectation of faith that He will hear and answer our prayer. It is God’s pleasure to give us what we need. Paul declared, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Never does God suggest they we become beggars, desperately clamoring for morsels of mercy from the table of God’s provision. Rather, we are treated as children of God with the expectations and privileges that come with our relationship to a benevolent heavenly Father. As a grateful son or daughter we can speak freely of our needs to our Father and know that He is concerned for our wellbeing. Jesus spoke of this relationship when He said, “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? … How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:11, 13).
In the pattern of prayer that Jesus gave His disciples He opened the prayer with an acknowledgement of the greatness of God, “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” Before the request, “Give us this day our daily bread,” He confessed relationship, authority, and the magnanimity of God. He began and ended the prayer with praise (Matthew 6:9–13).
David recognized the power of gratitude in his relationship with God. It became the theme of his psalm, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:4–5). Actually, in 25 passages of the Psalms there is a declaration to, “Give thanks!”
Gratitude is a proper response to the greatness of God. Even before the answer comes in response to our prayers we can be thankful and express thanks for the fact that He hears us when we pray. Paul wrote, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). This was apparently Paul’s practice. He wrote to the Ephesians, “I … do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers” (1:16), and to the Thessalonians, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2).
Power in prayer may be more fully experienced when we have an attitude of gratitude toward God and thanksgiving is commonplace in our petitions. There is a joyful confidence in prayer when we learn the secret of being thankful as we make our needs known to God. We pray, not as beggars, but as grateful children!
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!” (Psalm 105:1).