“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7
One of the spheres of influence that we focus prayer on at the National Day of Prayer Task Force, is the FAMILY. Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham called the family one of the seven key ‘mind molders’ in our society – the place where our understanding, knowledge, and beliefs begin and are established. What we see and learn in the home from our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and siblings, are things that we will carry with us throughout our lives into the world.
As this Thanksgiving holiday approaches, and as many travel across the country to spend time with family and friends, we pause and reflect on how much we have to be thankful for. If our family is still here, we can be thankful that we have them to love and to spend time with. If they are not, we think back upon fond memories of times that we had together.
This season is also one that brings with it many stresses, anxieties and worries. ‘Travel is expensive’, ‘Christmas is just around the corner and we’re broke’, ‘I haven’t spoken with them in years’, ‘they can come and visit us for once’, ‘but you don’t know my family’, and the list goes on and on. How we process through the issues of family and life most often ties back to how we were taught within our families. If we weren’t taught well, anxieties increase, and our need to cry out to God increases!
The beautiful thing about God’s Word, is that no matter how functional or dysfunctional our families were or are, we are all in it together, and we all have the same lesson to learn. “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God!” – if you desire peace – every situation . . . with thanksgiving . . . present your requests . . . to God.
Tomorrow, pray with thanksgiving for our families! Pray for that parent or child who chooses not to be a part of your life anymore . . . why? Because you need peace, and because God is able! Petition God with thanksgiving for your financial needs . . . why? Because He is the Lord your Provider! Pray with thanksgiving for His answer to your prayer for that challenge, hardship, relationship, or disease because you are praying to God . . . not ‘some mighty’ or ‘kinda mighty’ . . . but to God ALMIGHTY!
And, when you sit down to give thanks, remember to petition God ‘with thanksgiving’ for our big, struggling, American family . . . our nation. Given the rhetoric, the lack of trust, and the deep divisions and prejudices that we are witnessing . . . we desperately need to pray! We desperately need to petition God with thanksgiving! We desperately need to cry out for Jesus . . . who IS God’s Peace in flesh, to unite us . . . “for He Himself is our Peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” Ephesians 2:14
Have a peace-filled, blessed, and Happy Thanksgiving!