Gratitude Attitudes

May 16, 2015

“… 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


A Prayer for God’s Peace

August 30, 2014

Heavenly Father, You tell us in Your Word that You can keep us in a state of perfect personal peace if we meet Your conditions for that state of peace. Because I seek this peace in my life, give me the wisdom to worry about nothing, and the faith to pray about everything. May I receive from You the mental discipline to think about all the good things and the moral integrity to do all the right things.

May I always have that incurable optimism that believes in goodness, and give me such an insight into what You have been doing and what You are now doing in my life and in my world that I will give thanks always and in all things. May I never try to push You or run before You, but always wait on You, experiencing and expressing the gentleness and patience that are the evidence of Your Spirit living in me.

As I sort out my priorities, may I always value Your approval of who and what I am and what I do, and not walk before men to be seen of men or to please men. Never let me forget how near You are to me as I draw near to You, worshiping and enjoying You each day and forever.

And finally, Father, realizing that it is not who I am, but who You are that is important; acknowledging that it is not what I can do, but what You can do that really matters; agreeing that it should never be what I want, but always what You want; and remembering that in the final analysis it will not be what I did, but what You did that will have lasting eternal results, give me that absolute trust in You and total dependence on You that will truly rest my heart and my mind in Christ.

Enable me to meet these conditions for personal peace in the name of Jesus Christ, for my peace and for Your glory. Amen.

Dick Woodward, 03 July 2009