Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Gateway to Answered Prayer (Part 2)

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.

Previous: Part 1

Thanksgiving: Gateway to Answered Prayer (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago, I shared in my post, Thanking My Way to Gladness, what I have been learning personally about the benefits of having a thankful heart.  Today, I’d like to go a little deeper into that topic, based on what I am continuing to learn.

There are many Bible verses that talk about thanksgiving.  We all know that we are supposed to thank God  for Who He is and for all that He does for us.  Sometimes we might feel a little guilty, knowing we don’t always remember to thank Him as we should.  Thanksgiving brings glory to Him: “…  that the abundant grace might, through the thanksgiving of many, redound to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 4:15).

But God has been showing me another dimension of thanksgiving, beyond it being our proper response to God’s goodness:

It is a gateway to answered prayer.

Scripture clearly links thankfulness with prayer, as we shall see.  I’m not talking about thanking Him once the desired answer shows up on our doorstep.  Of course we should do that.  I’m talking about thanking Him before the answer arrives.  There is a reason this makes sense.

Philippians 4:6, 7 tells us, “Do not be care-filled about anything; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This verse is not only referring to thanking God for past answers or in a general way for His goodness.  Some people do that as a sort of ritual, to butter God up so that He will answer their current prayer.  That’s not sincere, and I have an idea that it grieves Father’s heart.  (How would you feel if your children cozied up to you and gushed all over you, just so they could get something out of you?)  Now, when I am petitioning God for things, I do thank Him for all His past faithfulness and for His goodness — but it is out of true gratefulness, not to hoodwink Him into giving me the next item that I want or need.  And it builds my faith to remind myself of past answered prayer, too.

Philippians 4:6 is actually talking about thanking Him for the current thing we are requesting.  Why would we do that, if we haven’t gotten it yet?  1 John 5:14, 15 gives us a clue: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. and if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”   We thank Him because the answer is already ours the very moment we ask — even though it may take a little time to evidence itself in our natural realm.  We have confidence that He has heard and has answered, because He promised that if we would ask anything in His name, He would do it for us (John 14: 13, 14).  We thank Him because our answer is already a reality.

Apostle Paul clearly linked prayer and thanksgiving together, in Colossians 4:2: “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” 

And when teaching on speaking in tongues, he had this to say: … When you bless with the spirit, how shall he who is unlearned say ‘Amen’ to your giving of thanks, seeing he does not understand what you are saying?  For you truly give thanks well, but the other is not edified” (1 Corinthians 14:16, 17).

When we speak in tongues, whether publicly or in private prayer, thanksgiving is at least part of what we are speaking.  When we use our prayer language as part of our petitioning, the Holy Spirit is releasing perfect prayers through us (see Romans 8:26, 27  and also my series, The Power of Your Prayer Language).  Much of what He is praying through us is thanksgiving, and although we cannot say for sure, it is highly possible that the thanksgiving we are thus sending heavenward is in connection with our current petition. 

Next time, I’d like to share with you a story in the Bible that further illustrates thanksgiving as a gateway to answered prayer.  It was something I had never seen before, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Next: Part 2

Thanking My Way to Gladness

Today,  I want to share with you a personal truth that I have been learning — the power of thanksgiving.

Although having a grateful heart toward the Lord has been part of who I am for a long time, recently I’ve come to understand thankfulness at a whole new level.

It started with taking hold in a deeper way for healings that I needed and that I just didn’t seem to be making any headway toward receiving.  I already understood the principles of receiving healing:

1.)  It is the Lord’s desire for us to be  healed (Psalm 103:3).
2.)  Jesus paid the full price for our healing through the cross and the scourging leading up to the cross.  (“With His stripes we are healed.” — Isaiah 53:5)
3.)  Our healing (along with many other things) was fully accomplished at the cross.  That’s why Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). 
4.)  We can ask the Lord for healing in Jesus’ Name and then appropriate (receive) it by simply believing it is already done for us (Mark 11:24).  

However, what I hadn’t ever quite gotten hold of as well as I should was that I could just rest in Jesus’ finished work of healing for me and thank Him that it was a done deal — even if the symptoms did still persist for a while — and the health problems would clear up.

I read Joseph Prince’s books, Destined to Reign and Unmerited Favor, learned a whole lot more about grace and the finished work of Jesus than I’d ever known before,  and began to catch hold of what it is to dwell in the rest of God — and to be thankful in the midst of that rest, knowing that the work has  already been done on my behalf. 

After a while, I noticed something else about thanking God: it does something to the inner man.  I began to feel supernatural faith arise inside for whatever healing I needed.  In fact, as I persisted in thanking God that Jesus had already done it for me, I found myself really settling down deep into that faith.  I really believed I was healed.

And as I thanked God, my heart became joyful — and peaceful too.  I found that my thoughts were focusing on Jesus instead of the health issue.  It is about coming into the abiding place that Jesus talked about in John 15 — including that wonderful promise in verse 7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done for you.”   And here is the best part of all: I found that thanking the Lord led me into a deeper love for Him, and that as I thanked Him from my heart His Presence gathered around me.

I’m now expanding what I’ve learned about thanking God for the answer to other things besides healing.  There are many things Jesus purchased for us at the cross, and the “ask, rest, and be thankful” principle can be applied to those as well.  Whatever the need, Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Do not be care-filled about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  When we do that, “the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep [our] hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

When circumstances appear overwhelming and prayer about them feels like it isn’t getting through, when I begin thanking the Lord aloud that He has heard me and is already pouring out the answer, I get real happy in a hurry.  Anxiety just can’t hang around.  Neither can the temptation to doubt.  Faith and joy bubble up inside, and Isaiah 12:3 becomes tangible reality: “Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

Thanksgiving: Gateway to Answered Prayer