Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In the original Greek “with thanksgiving” is not a sidecar to the thoughts about prayer and petition. No, instead thanksgiving is actually the centerpiece to beating anxiety. Many of us pray, and many of us give thanks to God, however it is the combination of these two that melts anxiety. We have the ability to pray anxious prayers.
We have the ability to thank God about everything except the issues involved in the problem we’re facing. Freedom from anxiety begins when we specifically bathe our problem prayer in thanksgiving. Not that we’re strangely thankful for bad things, but I promise there is more good involved in our life situation than we are possibly seeing. Anxiety melts as we see God’s good purposes and reframe our life in light of eternity and the fact that God is continually and effervescently good.
David and the writer of Hebrews both displayed this attitude in the phrase, “What can man do to me?” (Ps 56:11, 118:6, Heb 13:6). Anxiety melts when we realize that there is nothing on this earth that can harm us – God is on our side, and He is winning. When we try to beat our problems by striving in our prayer time we accentuate rather than beat anxiety. Thanksgiving then is a better weapon to beat anxiety – it’s God’s weapon. It’s simple – not easy – but simple :-).