This Summer I sent a series of emails aimed at encouraging people to submit requests and come for prayer during services at my church by exploring what motivates us to pray and what creates road-blocks to connecting with God through prayer. This post is adapted from one of those emails.

Since I volunteer on the Prayer Team at my church I see many prayer requests submitted multiple times by those who are waiting for God to move in a situation or relationship or even inside themselves. The Team doesn’t get to know the outcome for most of the requests we pray over.

At least, not on this side of heaven.

It’s a universal Christian experience. We have all prayed and waited, and waited, and waited, and…some of us are still waiting!

Waiting is hard. 

So what do we do with all this time?

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, 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 4:4-7

Pay attention – don’t let it slide past your eyes because it’s familiar! (I say to myself more than anyone else.)

In every situation, including waiting, by prayer with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

THEN. 

Then the peace of God which doesn’t make sense to humans given our inclination to panic will guard our hearts and minds in the intimacy of our relationship with Jesus. God is right here, right here with us in this. Whatever this is. So regardless of what’s going on or what we need or what we’re asking for we can rejoice. His Spirit has gentled us so we wait with patience and hope and anticipation instead of fear and desperation and rage. It happens with thanksgiving.

Because thanking God for anything and everything we can come up with reminds us that He really is here. He really is for us. He really is loving us every single moment. Gratitude is open defiance against our enemy who would like to convince us that we are waiting because God is something less than we believed (<lies). 

Humans are prone to tunnel vision. We can be easily blinded to all God is doing and has done when we focus on the one thing that isn’t ours, yet. 

So collect praises this week! Big ones, small ones, silly ones, serious ones, all of them!

I’ve got some to get you started:

The Seale family brought their adopted daughter home!! They waited for so long, she waited for so very long, and we prayed for them in church a few weeks ago. She was stuck in Haiti waiting for politics and paperwork.

Now.She.Is.Home!!

God brought her safe and sound!!

That’s worth celebrating!

Praise Him! Thank Him! Rejoice!

I’m gonna say it again, Rejoice!

Zac is 7 years old and beat cancer last year. He just had his 15 month scans and they are clear!!

That’s worth celebrating!

Praise Him! Thank Him! Rejoice!

I’m gonna say it again, Rejoice!

My family and I were on vacation last week (at the time of the original email) and popped a tire in middle-of-nowhere southeastern Colorado with no cell service and 25 miles to anything in either direction in the 95 degree heat. But we had a jack, and the spare had air in it, and the air conditioner didn’t quit, and the kids stayed calm! That’s worth celebrating!  

There is nothing to small to praise God for, because all the things we’re thankful for are gifts from Him! 
” Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. ” James 1:17

So when you wait and wait and wait… thank and thank and thank Him. 

If, in this moment, you are thinking something like, “I wish it were that easy. You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting! You don’t understand what I’m waiting for or the desperation I’m waiting with! It’s not this simple, practicing gratitude won’t make the waiting any easier!”

You’re right.
Gratitude won’t make the waiting easier.
But it will preserve hope. It will strengthen your ability to choose to keep believing that God is doing something. Gratitude will provide you with the emotional strength to serve others while you wait.

6,860
That’s how many gifts I’ve counted from God over the past 4 years or so. I write them down in a notebook per the advice of Ann Voskamp. I try to write 3 every day. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
I’m not asking you to do anything I won’t!

What are 3 things you are thankful for today? Tell me in the comments or send me a message so we can wait and thank God together!

(Full disclosure: I’m still not over the insecurity that comes with asking for subscriptions, but I’m doing the scary thing anyway!)
Next week’s post will be about patience and you don’t want to miss it, so if you haven’t subscribed already you can do so below!

Published by Sara Hall

Hi! My name is Sara. My husband, Steven, and I have been married 12 years and we have two sons. We also own and operate a company called ModScenes.com which serves churches and businesses with modular stage backdrops for their services and events. I serve as Prayer Team leader, mentor trainer, small group leader, and I also mentor women and teens at our church. I have a bachelor's degree in Christian Ministry: Counseling and Biblical Studies. My life vision statement is, “To help people overcome the emotional barriers that prevent them from having their best possible relationships with God and others.” I do this through helping people discover practical ways to apply Scripture to their everyday lives.

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