Prayer: Least Important to Most Important (Part 1)

I try to make my titles as interesting and creative as my mind can come up with to draw in readers, but I realize that by simply putting in the word "prayer" many people are going to skip over reading the post. Maybe you almost did, but I'm glad you decided to take the time to read.  Isn't it the way we communicate to God?  I think there are many reasons we don't want to learn more about prayer. For one, we all know that prayer is simply talking to God so we don't feel there's anything to learn, yet we stumble when it comes to our prayer lives and it feels harder than it sounds. Most of us have prayed prayers that didn't get answered immediately or in the way we wanted so we just decided to give up trying altogether. Sometimes it feels like it's too time consuming and we live such busy lives already, that why would we add something else to our plates? We know that God knows our hearts anyway, so why spend the time praying when it only takes up time and we'd probably just mess it up with our jumbled words?  Most of us have struggled with these feelings at some point in our lives. Over the next few weeks I'd like to share with you some thoughts and verses that will hopefully help you take prayer from being one of the least important things in your life, to one of the most important. 

Recently I came across a verse that I've read multiple times, but God pointed out a very important aspect of the verse that I had never thought very deeply into before.

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

Usually when I used to read that verse the part about not being anxious and instead praying would stick out to me. Basically, I would sum it up as "don't worry, just take it to God." And yes, that is what that verse is saying. But I was missing a very important aspect of it: with thanksgiving. I always knew I was supposed to pray and be sure to thank God, but God showed me a good reason why recently. We usually think of thanking God as an act of worship and praise, so it somehow becomes of the least important parts to our prayers because we usually want to at least get our requests said. But while praise and worship should be extremely important to us, there's another reason why we shouldn't skip over the "with thanksgiving" part of our prayer: it reminds us of who God is. For example, I could be worried about a particular situation in my life and pray to God asking Him to take care of it and let everything be okay...that's great and He still hears my prayer, but I'm still likely to worry about it. But when I go to Him with all my worries, ask Him to take care of it, and thank Him, it reminds me of His capabilities. When I thank God in advance for answering my prayer it reminds me that He will. When I thank Him for being Almighty God, it reminds me that He has the power to handle the situation. When I thank Him for being a loving, merciful God who sent Jesus to die for me, it reminds me that He cares about me so much that He would sacrifice His own Son for me. When I thank Him for keeping His promises, it reminds me that He is faithful. When I thank Him for being faithful, it reminds me that He is always there for me and will never forsake me. Thanking God in our prayers isn't only an act of praise to Him, but it gives us peace and hope in remembering who He is.

Don't forget to check back for part two next week! I'm very excited about this series :)