Surviving the Test of Faith: Vigilant in Prayer with Thanksgiving

“Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2 NKJ).

Prayer is not necessarily asking, requesting or petitioning God to do something for you or for others. Instead of asking God, you may choose to offer praise and worship instead, and consequently the Lord may respond by giving you His insights and revelations of His Will specifically those that pertain to your personal life.

You may ask what kind of prayer the Apostle Paul was talking about in the Scripture above? Obviously it is a prayer of faith. Prayer of faith is praying for things that we already have in our possession, but they exist in the spiritual world at the time, however, we believe by faith that we already received them.

Not until at a certain time that these possessions of ours (spiritual blessings) will manifest in the physical world because of our faith. A perfect example is healing. We pray for healing because we express our desire to be healed. During our prayers, we knew that we were healed already as a result of the death, resurrection, and the stripes of Jesus Christ. There were times, however, that instant healings occur. At times they are not.

The Apostle Paul wrote to be vigilant in thanksgiving when we pray. It is an admonishment for us to offer thanksgiving along with the prayer of faith. The giving of thanks is an act of faith. It is a confession of our lips that we have received what we have asked for. It is an acknowledgement that we have received what belongs to us.

Believers must be aware and conscious enough that they are in the midst of a spiritual warfare. We are at war. We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against the wicked spirits in heavenly places. We don’t see our spiritual enemies with our physical eyes, but we know them through the Word of God and by the manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit.

Therefore, we need to take our stand and face the enemy head on. We overcome the enemy by our faith. The devil’s main target is to shoot down our faith. It is his mission to paralyze a believer by simply planting seeds of doubts and unbelief in a believer’s heart. We know that we gain faith by a continuous listening and listening of the Word of God, but we have to protect our faith.

One way to survive the test of faith is through vigilant prayer and thanksgiving. Dictionary defines vigilant as to alertly watchful to avoid danger. Vigilant prayer is to stay on top of communion with the Lord, to be in His presence at all times, constantly led by the Spirit, and in prayer in the spirit.

“Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

To survive the test of faith, you must remain free from all worries. Because worry is the opposite of faith, and if it becomes extreme, it will cause your soul and body to deteriorate as fast as they could. It has been medically and scientifically proven that worries will negatively affect the health of one’s mind and physique.

To combat worry, Paul said to pray and tell God what you need and thank Him for all the good things He has done in your life. Thanksgiving is a positive confession of faith. It gives glory to God. When thanksgiving is offered to God, He is glorified. He is pleased, and we know that without faith it is impossible to please Him. When God is glorified in your life, He works signs, wonders and miracles. He will give you favor after favor, and grace upon grace.

In the Old Testament, Abraham survived the test of faith by giving glory to God. Abraham received the promises of God by faith, and did not waver but continued to strengthen his faith by giving of praise and thanksgiving. On top of that Abraham was fully convinced that God is faithful to fulfill His promise. That God’s Word shall come to pass, no matter what.

“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20 NKJ).

You see, after you have prayed the prayer of faith, what else could you do then to stay on top of everything without wavering, and to continue on strengthening your faith as you wait for your prayer to manifest in the physical world? The answer is thanksgiving. You have to constantly give thanks to the Lord. Giving of thanks will give strength to your faith, and blocks all the attacks of the enemy in an attempt to destroy your confidence in the Word and in the promises of God.

Thanksgiving is a very powerful act of faith. When you give thanks, it is an acknowledgement of the fulfillment of God’s Word and promises in your life. You are declaring in all spiritual worlds that you have received what belongs to you and you thank God for it. There’s nothing much the kingdom of darkness can able to do, but to back off and watch your faith overcome and triumph over the test of faith.

Jesus revealed to us the level of His faith when He publicly prayed to the Father. Jesus knew who He was, that He is the resurrection and boldly confessed that truth to Martha. Along the way Jesus also made a positive confession to Martha that Lazarus will raise from the dead. Although Martha could not understand what Jesus was talking about, she could only respond to Jesus that He is the Christ.

In front of Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus prayed the prayer of faith. First thing Jesus had said in His prayer to the Father is thanksgiving.

“… Father, I thank You that You have heard Me” (John 11:41 NKJ).

What followed next was Lazarus being alive again. Jesus just prayed the prayer of faith to raise Lazarus from the dead, and it happened. Jesus had to thank the Father that He hears Him.

Thanksgiving is not just another lip service. It is not another religious tradition or religious routine exercise to be acted upon. When people of God begin to give thanks out of sincerity of their hearts, things will change. Spiritual breakthrough upon breakthrough and victory upon victory will surely be in our midst. Thank God for His mercy and grace. Thank God for His goodness and faithfulness. Our God is an Awesome God. All the glory belongs to Him alone! Amen.

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