“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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)
In the last chapter of the letter to the Church at Philippi Paul gives them, and us, a prescription for peace. The peace of God is a state of personal peace in which God can keep us if we meet certain conditions. (Isaiah 26:3)
As I seek to maintain the peace of God I get the most mileage out of the prescription listed above. I have discovered that when I begin to thank God for all the good things in my life it is as if a switch is thrown and I find my mind automatically moving from the negative to the positive.
To use a metaphor, if I were to place all the bad stuff in my life on the left side of a scale – like a scale of justice – and all the good stuff on the right side of that scale, the right side will far outweigh the left side.
That’s what happens when I implement what I call, “The Therapy of Thanksgiving.”
An old hymn writer put it this way:
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed.
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
(Johnson Oatman, Jr.; 1856-1926)
That’s why Paul’s prescription is that when we pray, in everything (not for everything), we should pray thankful prayers. He promises that when we do so the peace of God will stand guard over our hearts and minds.
Dick Woodward, 22 October 2010