It was an early evening walk around the neighborhood with my dog, Jack. As we passed one house after another, I noticed ahead a group of people coming out the front door. A woman handed a little girl something. She took it. The mother instructed, “say, thank you.” The little girl complied and said what she should with a smile.
As a child, my mother and father taught me to say thank you, as I’m sure many of you were taught and have taught your own children the same. I was immediately reminded of Philippians 4:6, “…Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” When we pray, asking God for a particular something, it’s easy to simply give our request and let that be that, but there is an importance in remembering to say “thank you.” The answer as to why is found in the next two verses, Philippians 4:7-8, “Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Peace. Isn’t that what we all want? Worries can mount a heart of calm, troubling thoughts can plague us with a list of “what ifs,” and a bleak outlook can overcome our sense of well being. It’s then that we want peace to come to us, and it can. There is a peace and power in praise and thanksgiving that dissolves worry and disparaging thoughts. Giving God our requests, then thanking Him that He is able to meet our needs, fills us with a refreshed hope. Then comes joy. When we can make saying “thank you” to our Heavenly Father as natural and sincere as thanking family and friends for something they have done for us, then there is a peace that is steadfast and sure. The peace of God is a strong tower that withstands all worry, not some of the time, but all of the time.
Here is a fun challenge: Think about saying “thank you” to Jesus today and tomorrow and the next day. Say it enough until it becomes a habit. Let it be an experiment. See what it does to your inner peace.