Did you know that Jesus released thanksgiving as a means of receiving answers? I didn’t — until the Holy Spirit showed me this, in the story of the multiplication of the five loaves and two fish, found in John 6. The concept is hidden away in what may appear to be an insignificant detail.
John 6:11 tells us, “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them who had sat down; and likewise of the fish as much as they wanted.” We know the story: five thousand men, plus women and children, were fed, and twelve baskets were left over.
The story seems to end there. John moves on to tell about Jesus going up into a mountain to pray and then walking on the water in the middle of the night. But look at John 6:23, a seemingly insignificant explanation of how the multitudes found Jesus the next day: “However, other boats came from Tiberias near to the place where they had eaten bread, after the Lord had given thanks.” Why did John mention that last phrase at all? Because the concept of thanksgiving as a gateway to answers is there.
Five thousand men, plus women and children, were fed with five loaves and two fish after Jesus released His faith for the miracle through giving thanks to His Father. Yes, He gave thanks out of a grateful heart for the food He had to work with — but He also was giving thanks for what God was about to do. His prayer request was linked with His thanksgiving.
May I suggest that if the answers to your prayers are not flowing in as you would like them to, that thanksgiving may be the missing component — the peg that needs to be put in place to secure the needed result? Yes, thank the Lord for all that He has already done for you, but add to that your confident thanksgiving that He has heard your current request and has sent the answer in response.
Keep thanking Him that it is already done until you see that answer materialize — and then thank Him again when you do see it. As you keep yourself in the place of anticipatory thanksgiving, your spiritual eyes will begin to see with certainty what your natural eyes do not yet behold. Your faith and joy will rise to new levels, and you will be at peace while you are waiting for your results to appear. Fretting and unhappiness about your situation will subside.
Now, you may face some spiritual opposition while attempting to keep the position of thankfulness. A basic truth of the Christian life is that when we come into new understanding of any of the treasures God has for us and begin to apply them, we will be confronted and tested concerning them. As you move into leveraging thanksgiving to receive answers to prayer, the enemy will see to it that circumstances arise that greatly challenge your desire and determination to maintain a heart of thanksgiving. At times it may be hard to see that there is anything to be thankful for. This is just part of what happens anytime we move into the greater things of God.
Press through anyway. Don’t give up. You will receive your answers.