Jesus said that, “from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Mt 12:34)” As I have been listening to believers all over the country, I have heard hearts overflowing with words of fear, stress and anxiety. I have been asking the Lord about these fears and He has been emphasizing one word to me, “thanksgiving.” Not the holiday, but the attitude of the heart.
The Spirit showed me the picture of a Christian being squeezed by a vise and said, “When life squeezes us like a grape, Jesus should pour out of us because we are meant to abide in Him.” Much of the talk from believers contradicts our name. We are called “believers,” not complainers. If you don’t pray, beware; complaining fills the void of prayer.
We do not complain about what we are praying about. For example, if I am praying for my spouse for an hour a day, when I step out of my prayer closet I am not going to begin to complain about my spouse. If you tell me what you complain about, I can show you what you aren’t praying about.
Complaining is the exact opposite of thanksgiving. God is calling us to release thanksgiving when we are squeezed. The Bible tells us to “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:18). Notice that it says, “in” not “for” all circumstances. We are not to give thanks ‘for’ all circumstances because not everything is from God. If you are sick, don’t give thanks for your sickness, because it is not from God, but giving thanks in (or in spite of) your sickness is what God instructs us to do.
In Ephesians 5:20, God does instruct us to give thanks ‘for’ all things, but the greek word used is Huper, which is the root of the word ‘for’ in this passage. It means ‘above,’ ‘beyond’ or ‘over.’ We are meant to give thanks above, beyond and over our circumstances.
When Jesus needed to raise Lazarus from the dead (John11:41) or multiply the loaves (John 6:11), He didn’t give thanks for His situation, He gave thanks in His situation. You don’t have to be thankful for your situation, but you need to be thankful in it. This will release the anointing of God to overcome your situation.
The prophet Daniel was known for giving thanks to the Lord three times a day. What we learn from his life is that when you operate in thanksgiving, the lions of the enemy don’t have the right to chomp on you. Or who can forget Jonah? When he complained about his assignment to prophesy over Nineveh and ran from God, he was swallowed by a giant fish. If you look closely at what Jonah did inside of the fish, it says in Jonah 2:9 that he sang a song of thanksgiving. In the very next verse, the fish spit Jonah out on the dry land. The principle is this, if complaining got you into the situation, thanksgiving is the key to get you out.
We need to be a people of prayer so that when life squeezes us, a heart of thanksgiving will pour out. According to James 4:2, “we have not, because we ask not.” If we need the Lord to move in our life, it is time to return to a heart of prayer with thanksgiving.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:6-7). We are called to pray and give thanks for the answer before the answer comes. Thanksgiving brings an irrational peace into our hearts. We are to give thanks to God before the answer arrives, not to only give thanks after an answer arrives. Where is the faith in that? Real faith says, ‘thank you God,” before God has even moved to answer your prayer.
If you desire to see spiritual breakthrough in your family, finances, physical body, relationships or any other area, it is time to begin applying thanksgiving in your prayers. Thanksgiving is a powerful force in the spirit realm, and it is a season where we are reminded to release this force in the earth. Happy Thanksgiving!