Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God
Sometimes I treat prayer like taking a ticket at the deli line. I take a number, then patiently wait for my turn to be called. When my name is called I feel sure that then I will get God’s full attention. Then after I am served I say something like, “Hey thanks – have a great day!”
But my reality seems to end up more like the man that Jesus met at the pool of Bethesda. He had been waiting in line not for minutes, hours, or weeks, but for thirty-eight long years. He told Jesus, “… but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Do you sometimes feel like that guy? Does it seem that others get the financial provision, the amazing career opportunities or the special thanks in front of the church. Do you feel that God has forgotten you and left you holding the ticket that never gets called?
When the Apostle Paul talks about prayer to the Philippian church he gives quite a different outlook. His prayers were not made while he anxiously waited his turn. Paul did not have the idea that God was probably busy with the person in front of him in line. In fact Paul was so confident of His heavenly Father that he actually began his request by saying thank you. He knew that because of Jesus Christ his prayers were making their way immediately to the front of the line. He joyfully gave thanks even though he didn’t always get things just the way he wished (like when he was ship-wrecked, beaten, thrown in prison or treated as the least important apostle by his own church.
In fact, while Paul sat in his prison cell chained next to his friend Silas, he was so thankful that he broke out into song, Silas joined in and God sent an earthquake that unlocked the prison door. Wow, now that is an answer to prayer!
No matter what the circumstance, no matter how long we have waited, no matter what everyone else thinks, God loves not just a joyful giver, but a joyful thankful prayer as well. When God sees our faces he sees us as His children. God loves to hear from His children when we come to him with a joyful thankful prayer!