“… in everything… 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 his favorite Church at Philippi Paul gives us a prescription for peace. The peace of God is a state of personal peace in which God keeps a believer if they meet certain conditions (Isaiah 26:3). There are twelve such conditions listed in Philippians 4.
As I seek to maintain the personal peace that comes from God, I get more mileage out of the prescription listed above than any of the others. I have discovered when I begin to thank God for all the good things in my life it’s like a switch clicks and I find my mind automatically moving from the negative to the positive.
To use another metaphor, if I placed 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 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.”
That’s why Paul’s prescription is that when we pray, in everything (not for everything), we should offer thankful prayers. He promises that when we do, the peace of God will stand guard over our hearts and minds.
Dick Woodward, 22 October 2010