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Bringing the Gratitude of November into December

Female hands in teal knitted mittens with a entwined heart

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

This verse has been familiar to me since I was a child. I have heard numerous sermons and read many devotions dedicated to the concept of trusting God, not worrying, and bringing our needs and desires to God through prayer. This verse is well-taught and well-examined.

The practice of bringing my requests to God, both my needs and the things I just want, is not difficult for me. But, trusting in God’s provision, sovereignty, and goodness in answering those prayers? That is harder for me. I know He is able to answer, but will He answer the way I want and in my timeline?

I struggle because I want a say in the way He answers my prayers. I struggle to relinquish control, and then I worry. The anxiety of my lack of control sets in. This is what the verse is warning against! “Do not be anxious about anything.” Do not worry.

But then the verse that follows says:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

The first verse is the key to the second. I want to pray and not worry. I want to trust and not doubt. I want the peace of God to guard my heart and mind. So what was I doing wrong? What was I missing?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” – Philippians 4:6

It has taken me years, but as I have memorized and meditated on this verse I realized that I was saying but not practicing those words, “with thanksgiving.” I would offer up my prayers, trying desperately to trust, but then missing the step of giving thanks.

The act of thanking God and choosing an attitude of gratitude in the midst of my need transformed my heart.

It shifted my focus from my need to Him and His provision. What I truly need is not what He can give me. Jesus is our provision. All of our needs are yes and amen in Him.

November is a month full of reminders to give thanks and focus our hearts on gratitude. As we enter December though, I often slip very quickly from this place of contented gratitude to a place of frenzy and a frantic pace that does not leave room for gratitude.

My challenge this holiday season is to bring the gratitude of November into December. I want to continue Thanksgiving in December. If I can cover the worry of the holiday season with a heart of gratitude, I think I will have a much less stressful December.

So I will practice giving thanks and ending all of my prayers with thanksgiving each day in December. What a perfect way to prepare for the Christ child!

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