Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks
Fervent Prayers 204-3
Rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving are God’s ways for your faith.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV).
Rejoicing in difficult times, praying until you get what you pray for, and giving thanks for God’s intervention in every situation are inter-linked actions of faith.
1. Rejoice in the Lord always
Because Christ has defeated Satan, overcome death, and given us salvation, we can rejoice always, even in extremely difficult situations.
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly. … For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how
to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
(Philippians 4:4, 10a, 11b-13 NKJV).
Paul was unjustly put in the prison, yet he was able to encourage the believers to rejoice always because he had depended on Christ to handle all situations.
When you can decisively put your faith on Christ who is in charge of your life and on God the Father who is in control of the whole universe, your emotion is set free from being trapped in
hurts, fear, and discouragement.
So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back. Let us look only to
Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect. He suffered death on the cross. But he accepted the shame as if it were nothing because of the joy that God put before him.
And now he is sitting at the right side of God’s throne (Hebrews 12:1b-2 NCV).
Christ looked away from the shame of being nailed on a cross and focused at the joy that God would put before him to entitle himself to be seated at the right side of God’s throne.
Looking away from anything ‘that so easily holds us back’ and looking ‘only to Jesus, the One who began our faith and who makes it perfect’ will move us to a higher ground of faith.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy good food and sweet drinks. Send some to people who have none, because today is a holy day to the Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of the LORD will
make you strong” (Nehemiah 8:10 NCV).
God can give you His joy, coming from the heavenly realm, into your heart for you to face the impossible. With this joy you will have a new strength to handle extreme challenges.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away
(Isaiah 35:10 NKJV).
Those Jewish captives returned to Zion, or Jerusalem, with ‘everlasting joy on their heads’. ‘Everlasting joy’ is a supernatural experience from God. ‘On their heads’ means it comes from
above, from the spiritual realm, different from the joy in their emotion.
This heavenly impartation adds ‘joy and gladness’ and drives away ‘sorrow and sighing’. It surpasses all bitterness, heals deep hurts, and restores broken life.
Some call this impartation of joy as the ‘holy laughter’ experience.
When you are led by the Holy Spirit, you will have the ‘joy’ of the Lord in your heart (see Galatians 5:16, 22-23).
By rejoicing always, you are building a character to face any challenges.
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when
your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything (James 1:2-4 NLT).
Rejoicing in difficult times will develop endurance in your character to face any challenges.
2. Pray without ceasing
Having rejoiced in all circumstances and entrusted everything to Christ’s keeping, you will see His constant guidance.
Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News
about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ
Jesus comes back again (Philippians 1:3-6 NLT).
Paul’s secret to always pray for the church at Philippi is to have ‘a heart full of joy’. For he knows that God loves to complete all the works He has started in our life.
This understanding moves you to look forward for the next area of development. And you will keep praying until you get the result you expect.
Praying without ceasing requires an active relationship with God.
Give us the food we need for each day (Matthew 6:11 NCV).
Our Heavenly Father likes us—His sons and daughters—to come to Him over and over, asking daily for each day’s needs.
So I say to you, ask and keep on asking and it shall be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking and the door shall be opened to you. For
everyone who asks and keeps on asking receives; and he who seeks and keeps on seeking finds; and to him who knocks and keeps on knocking, the door shall be opened (Luke 11:9-10
To ‘ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, and knock and keep on knocking’ means to exercise fervent faith on God rather than just to repeat a prayer. An affectionate
relationship with God produces fervency of faith.
Restoration and transformation comes through a process of fervent intercession.
But oh, my dear children! I feel as if I am going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives (Galatians 4:19 NLT).
Fervent intercession is conceiving and birthing forth new things in the spirit.
Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God (Colossians
In fervent prayers, Epaphras labored in spiritual childbirth to bring forth spiritual sons and daughters who could ‘stand perfect and complete in all the will of God’.
Your constant intercession carries disciples through all the challenges to reach maturity and sustains a church to become established.
3. In everything give thanks
As you rejoice in the Lord and pray without ceasing, you will have reasons to give thanks to God.
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, because we have heard about the faith you have in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all of God’s
people. You have this faith and love because of your hope, and what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5a NCV).
Once Paul had received reports of the progress that the believers at Colossae had made in faith, love, and hope, he was motivated to pray thankfully for their development further (see
Romans 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Philemon 4-5).
Watching God’s guidance thankfully gives you more faith to pray further. One cycle of rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving spurs on the next cycle of rejoicing, praying, and thanksgiving.
I can never stop thanking God for all the generous gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. He has enriched your church with the gifts of eloquence and every kind of
knowledge. … Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:4-5, 7 NLT).
That was the reason why Paul could keep on praying for the church in Corinth to be so rich in all spiritual gifts.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more
wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
By praying to God joyfully for what you need and thanking Him for all He has done, you will experience God’s peace guarding your heart to move on against anxieties.