“…with thanksgiving,…” a two-word phrase in a Bible passage that I’ve copied down or printed and cut out or included in various prayer “cheat sheets” I’ve made for myself over the years….
“…with thanksgiving,…” a passage I tried to commit to memory and forgot then recommitted to memorizing and forgot again…
Because of all the above, I run across this passage now and then notated and dated in Bibles and tucked into books, my wallet, under a magnet on our refrigerator, taped to my dashboard, often written about in my journals….
Despite my appreciation for and familiarity with this passage, that phrase, “with thanksgiving” only recently struck me.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
“…with thanksgiving….” Most times, it seems it should be set apart and end with a question mark “… with thanksgiving?” Like, seriously?
When I’m trying not to be anxious while bringing prayers and petitions to the Lord, thankful is not where I am. This most recent time, I meditated over the passage and landed where what I surmise Paul had in mind, not to be thankful FOR what I am bringing, or how I am, but thankful THAT….
Thankful THAT I can bring these matters, burdens, despair, failure, disappointment, and ‘having dones’ …. and also my joys, triumphs, ecstasies… THAT I can bring my all and myself, “as is” to the Lord ….
Because He will always receive without reservation …because he will NEVER hold or count against me whatever I bring, or that clings to me, that I can’t or won’t shake myself from… because no matter how dark, wretched, or foreboding IT is, no matter how despicable, depraved, dirty, or foul I am when I come to Him, I am able to come…. with thanksgiving….
… with thanksgiving … because the Lord encourages me to bring and to come as I am, because He pleaded for us to bring and come, with tears even. (see John 11:35)
Thankful THAT because, quite frankly, who else would allow me or receive me to bring and to come? Who else could I bring both my worst and best and be received EVERY SINGLE TIME and with such grace, mercy, acceptance?
I KNOW this because He came FIRST to me, to all of us. Despite already fully knowing what we did and are, He not only came, he offered HIMSELF to assure us beyond any doubt we could in fact come and be received. (Romans 5:8)
…with thanksgiving ….. Who else will care so for us? Who else would so readily, willingly, unhesitatingly and without any reservation whatsoever step down from where He was to come to our foul place and show up to the likes of us only to offer release and freedom, to actually pay our price with his VERY LIFE so we would come …with thanksgiving……?
Indeed, who else?
Now I begin to see, even to understand how the …“with thanksgiving”… part is so essential.
…“with thanksgiving”…is to grasp being thankful THAT I can bring and come, not thankful FOR what I bring or am….
….“with thanksgiving”… is to enter into prayer and petition as God invites me to do in His word, how prayer and petition is always to be properly entered into
….“with thanksgiving”… is to separate from, to deny myself while giving myself over to Him and allowing His Spirit access to my being, body, heart….
…“with thanksgiving”.. is to lay myself bare to him and go back figuratively to that place in the Garden where I stand before and with him, naked and unashamed (Genesis 2:25)
…“with thanksgiving”…is to now be properly positioned for a deluge that He opens to wash over me, over us…
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, NIV)
…with thanksgiving, to present my requests to God…for peace that transcends all understanding…
“…with thanksgiving…” Indeed!