At Rise & Shine Women’s Retreat guest speaker Lysa TerKeurst spoke on being “Prayer-full”. She shared I Thessalonians 5:16-18 with us, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Lysa shared that joy is not a feeling, it is a mindset…a shift in our thinking. She said, “sometimes our circumstances feel anything but joyful”, but we can choose to be joyful and thankful despite our feelings, despite our circumstances. Lysa said, “Feelings are indicators, not dictators.” So true!
Lysa went on to say that we need to “ask God for our daily portion.” Keep asking, keep believing, keep our eyes and hearts on Him daily. Praying continually shows our daily dependence on Him.
In my breakout group (a small group setting) at Rise & Shine we spent some time digging into Lysa’s message just a bit more. We talked about what being in the center of God’s will meant to us. Of course, being joyful, praying continually and being thankful came up again. One woman pointed out that you can’t really have one without the other…you need all three, they all go hand in hand. When you’re thankful you’ll be joyful, when you’re prayerful you’ll be thankful, when you’re joyful you’ll be prayerful…you get the idea!
I Thessalonians 5:18 does say “for this” (all three of those things mentioned before) “is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” To be in God’s will, we must be joyful, prayerful and thankful. Wow!
As I’ve pondered this more, I realized I had a great example of this growing up. I was brought up by my mom who, by God’s grace, is an extremely grateful woman. Despite some very tough, life-altering circumstances, she chose to see the joy in life. Life didn’t turn out just the way she thought it would, circumstances beyond her control left her a divorced woman and a single mom who was often scraping for money to provide for us. Yet, she constantly pointed out to me (and still does) how God was with us…was blessing us…was providing for us…was showing His love for us. She gave Him such thanks in front of me that I grew up seeing God clearly in those ordinary, everyday moments. Her faith was strong and totally intact despite circumstances. She wasn't necessarily thankful for her difficult circumstances, but she was thankful even in her circumstances! She prayed about everything, she saw how God answered her prayers and was quick to point it out to me as well. Her prayerfulness made her thankful, her thankfulness made her joyful. What an example!
I try to model this for my two young boys as well. It sounds easy doesn’t it? When we’re sitting in a Christian women’s conference being built up, encouraged, refreshed and renewed, it sounds so simple.
Of course we should be joyful always!
Of course we should pray continually (why wouldn’t we?!!?).
Of course we should be thankful in all circumstances.
Of course this is God’s will for us.
It makes total sense! BUT, when we get home, that’s the real test! When things don’t go our way…there are bills to be paid…kids fussing…dinner burning…frizzy hair…telemarketers…rising blood pressure…life can get messy. It’s easy to lose sight of all that joy and thankfulness we felt while sitting at that conference. Or maybe our circumstances are much bigger…like a sick loved one, divorce papers delivered, past mistakes coming back to haunt us…the list could go on and on. No matter what the circumstance, do we choose EVEN THEN by God’s grace within us to be joyful, prayerful and thankful?!
As we pray continually we will see how God gives us just what we need (not necessary everything that we want, but all that we need), then we will be thankful. When we live with a thankful heart, choosing to see past the circumstances to see the blessings in life, then we will live joyfully…always. When we are joyful and thankful we will prayerfully praise God and will pray even more because we will be keenly aware of how faithful He is to answer. They go hand in hand.
November is “Thankful Month” on facebook. Each day I am posting what I am thankful for that day. Honestly, I am so thankful for all that God has done that I find it hard to say just one thing. It has been a great reminder for me! As I think of the things that I am thankful for, I find myself full of joy and then I find myself praising God for it! I have a lot to be thankful for and I believe all of us do…if we only choose to be aware! Thankfulness is not a one month event, it is an every day, moment by moment, forever life changing choice!
Are our eyes open to all God is doing around us? Are we thankful for all the little, “everyday” life stuff that He provides? Do we recognize our blessings despite our feelings? Do we see the joy in this life, in our relationship with Him despite our circumstances? Do we choose to look to Him continually…asking for our provision every day, every moment? Do we say thank you, Lord?
I am thankful for Lysa TerKeurst’s message that has caused me to focus on these Truths. I am thankful God continues to work on these things in my heart. I am thankful that I can choose to be joyful always, pray continually and to be thankful in all circumstances…because this truly is God’s will for me, and you too if you are a believer!!
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice! …the Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Phil 4:4-8
What are you thankful for today?