By now, I am certain that you have heard me say that I have a strong distaste for appeals that conclude “Thanks in advance for….” Built into that is the assumption that I will grant the request, send the money, respond to the appeal. To be thanked in advance presumes that I will do as asked; it takes away my freedom to say “no,” to reject the petition.
That may cause one to wonder why it is that Paul would say that our prayers and intercessions should be laced with thanksgiving. Isn’t that a way of tying God’s hands? To say to God, in essence, “hear my prayer for…and thanks in advance for granting it?” Doesn’t that mean God is almost bound to say “yes” lest we lose faith in God’s reliability? We asked; we even said “thanks” but God didn’t come through. What’s up with that?
It may help to know that is not exactly what Paul means when he writes to the Philippians that you should “bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks.” He doesn’t exactly say that we are giving thanks in advance. It seems that he is suggesting that we give thanks for whatever it is God may choose to provide. At the very least, the context suggests that prayers of petition that include thanksgiving remove anxiety.
We’ll talk about all of this on Sunday as we continue our sermon series on “Thank You Notes.” We’ll look at Philippians 4:4-9 (but you may want to read on through verse 13). We’ll reflect a bit more on thanksgiving and thankful lives, what that looks like and why it’s important for followers of Jesus.
I hope to see you Sunday. Thanks in advance for planning to attend.
Grace and peace.