My husband, Joe, and I got hit with a barrage of problems recently. First, my computer crashed. Then my car broke down, and the company that held our extended warranty refused to pay for the necessary repairs to make it drivable again. On top of that, the new exercise bike I purchased arrived damaged, so that I couldn’t use it. As the weeks dragged on, it seemed as though the right solutions were constantly evading us.
All during this time, I prayed and stood on God’s promises, expecting the Lord to act on our behalf. But doors kept closing, and the problems kept coming. I finally got on my knees and asked the Lord to show me what I had to do to receive the assistance and answers that I knew He had in store for us. That’s when the Holy Spirit showed me the answer in Psalm 66:17 (NLT): “I cried out to Him for help, praising Him as I spoke.” I was already doing the “crying out to God” part, but I wasn’t “praising Him as I spoke.”
Once I realized my mistake, I began praising God that, although my car was in disrepair, Joe and I still had his car to rely on. Though I didn’t yet have a properly working computer, I expressed gratitude that the one I had as a backup was better than nothing. And even though my new exercise bike was unusable at the time, I thanked God that I still had my broken down old one that I could squeeze a workout out of on occasion.
As I mixed praise with my prayers, something wonderful happened. Everything began falling into place, and doors began to open, so that all of our problems were resolved suddenly and beautifully.
As I pondered this experience, the Lord brought to my remembrance Philippians 4:6 (NIV), which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” The Lord invites us to come to Him with our prayers, petitions, and requests. But if we don’t mix our prayers “with thanksgiving,” as this verse instructs, we can’t blame Him when our answers don’t come.
God has custom-made solutions in store for us when we lift up our petitions to Him with heartfelt praise. And He will accomplish for us what we could never accomplish on our own!
Prayer: Lord, when trouble strikes and I call on You for help, remind me to “praise You as I speak.” Give me a grateful heart, and teach me how to count my blessings in the midst of my problems. Guard me from grumbling and complaining, and help me to look for the good in every situation. Thank You that as I mix praise with my prayers, You will move mountains and open doors on my behalf!- J. M. Farro
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