Answered Prayer and Giving Thanks

This past Sunday I filled out my prayer request form and dropped it in the offering box. I almost didn’t. I almost felt a little embarrassed. Because shouldn’t you expect hip pain when you’re pregnant and I shouldn’t be complaining about something as sweet as the little boy growing inside of me.

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But asking for prayer isn’t the same thing as complaining and even if it was, complaining about hip pain isn’t the same as complaining about the cause of the hip pain. And more importantly than all that I knew the verse...

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

So I dropped my filled-out card in the offering box and moved on. Until the next afternoon when I realized that my hip hadn’t hurt all day.

With no warning I went from Sunday morning of the worst the pain had been, to Monday morning pain free. Completely pain free.

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And a few months ago I would have just moved on with life. No prayer of thanks. No acknowledgement of God’s hand in the situation. Just some silent rejoicing and plunging forward without a further thought.

But just a few months ago, I noticed this pattern in my heart during another afternoon rush of running late. I prayed for help to arrive at my destination on time and tried to breathe deeply. Somehow in the midst of amazingly clear traffic and an answered prayer, I noticed my lack of faith.

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The problem wasn’t that I forgot to give thanks, the problem was that I was afraid to believe that God actually had a hand in answering my prayer.

Because hitting all green lights and hip pain going away and getting a good nights sleep are all “little” things that could have natural solutions. I was afraid to give God the credit for the “little” things because...what if it was just chance or natural circumstances?

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And all at once it hit me. This was not faith. This fear to credit God with the “little” things was not faith. This lack of praise and thanksgiving was not faith.

I wondered, “How could I live like that and yet still claim to believe the words of Philippians 4:6?"

Yes, I may never know whether God reached down from the heavens and controlled the traffic lights for me, or if I "just so happened" to hit them all with perfect timing, but does it matter?

Or could perhaps I credit God with my timing in pulling out of our gated, backyard parking pad so that I perfectly hit every green light?

It’s not faith to pray for something then give the credit to someone or something other than God when my prayer is answered. And yes, perhaps my prayers are often a little silly or even brought on by my own lack of discipline and scheduling, but does that mean God doesn’t care or won’t answer?

So my skeptical mind wrestled hard with the questions, “How does refusing to praise Him build my faith or bring Him glory? How does giving the credit to ‘natural causes’ fit in with what I say I believe...with Philippians 4:6?"

And I found, they don’t. If I truly believe that God desires to hear every care and worry of my heart, then I must praise Him for every relief of those cares.

So on Tuesday morning I sat down and emailed the prayer team to say thank you for praying and to give God the glory for healing my hip. And each time I pause to pour out thanks and praise to God for answers to the “little” prayers, I feel like a tiny seed of faith is growing into a firmer confidence of the goodness of God.

Do you thank God for answers to the “little” prayers? Have you every struggled with this?

Be blessed <3