Praying with joy helps us keep our focus on God and rely and rest in Him, regardless of what we are going through.
Giving thanks when things are going well is a no brainer. However, giving thanks when we are in difficult times should also be a no brainer. So then why is it so difficult to praise God and give thanks when our circumstances are hard?
I served in the military for 8 ½ years, but my service did not stop once I got out. My husband has continued to serve. This year makes 12 total years that I have submitted to the mercy of the US government.
I lament on that fact most especially right now, as our family of 6 is making our 5th move in 10 years. Moving is hard. It brings out the best and worst in all of us.
Today, as the movers arrived 1 hour early, with double the amount of people, I took a deep breath, even though I wanted to crumble under the overwhelm of the chaos that was about to ensue. After 10 straight hours of packing and movement, our whole house and what normal looks like in our lives was in 10 wooden crates being driven away. We won’t see the contents of our home for 2 or more months.
This time is crazy difficult. Being able to absorb a tremendous amount of change can be taxing. However, throughout the day I continued to say a quiet, “Thank you God,” under my breath.
Thank you that my family is all together. Thank you that we will continue to have a roof over our heads for the coming months. Thank you for taking care of us. Even though difficulty is all around us I can rest and find joy that He is right next to me helping me in all we do.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:4 “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy”. Thus, in this verse he is exclaiming how he prays for all of us, he is also setting the example for us on how to pray in the way God has called us to.
So what is our takeaway from this verse? It is probably pretty obvious. However, if not, we are to always pray with joy.
When we always pray with joy, the Spirit will fill us up. He will intercede in our lives and circumstances, allowing us to draw our energy from Him rather than from what surrounds us.
We are called to trust and have faith in the Father. We can only do that when we allow the Holy Spirit to be what fills us up no matter what is going on around us. We do this by being grateful and praying with joy always!
When we find ourselves in difficult times, let us not focus on what is trying to deplete us, but rather let us look up. Difficult times are the enemy’s way of distracting us from placing our focus on God.
Galatians 5:22-23 MSG says, “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Living God’s way must be our focus in all circumstances, difficult and easy. It is in the difficult times that we can mature in the fruits of the Spirit. More than that, we can learn how to not, “force our way in life,” and we are, “able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Are you in a difficult or easy season right now? Take a moment to think about the circumstances of your life and ask God to help you pray with joy always.