(Originally Posted July, 2016)
We All Struggle Thanking God, HIS-WAY
At one time or another, we all struggle with this.
Even the Prayer-Heros of Scripture.
Epaphras is known as a prayer warrior (Colossians 4:12), but even he struggled with this. . .in my novel.
In The Pray-ers, Book 1, Troubles on page 97-98, Epaphras struggles with THANKING GOD FOR everything, as Paul instructs him:
Epaphras still recalled his challenging learning experience with Paul three years earlier, about being thankful, when he remembered some more of Paul’s conversation. His memory made him feel like Paul and he were back in their meeting room. Paul had just told Epaphras, for what seemed like the “umpteenth” time, “Epaphras, wait, you do not get to be thankful in a difficult situation and not be thankful for the situation. That is just illogical, and I might add, selfish on your part.”
“Why Paul?” Epaphras began to get a bit angry with Paul, “Surely God understands that there are just difficult circumstances that He has allowed into my life through which I would learn endurance. I can learn in it and not be thankful for it.”
Paul lowered his face and his eyes into his lap, gave a short chuckle and Epaphras knew that his argument would be cast aside, with love, of course. How long would Paul take? Two sentences, maybe three?
“My friend,” Paul said, “because God is sovereign. nothing is in your life that God did not plan for and approve. He chooses to use these circumstances by His good graces and Your faith in Him for the better. In everything or for everything isn’t the point Epaphras. The point is that we are to be thankful about everything … because God is sovereign and He works all things out for the better for those who love Him and are called according to His promises.”
“Three sentences,” thought Epaphras sarcastically. “But the first sentence had so many words in it that it could have been counted as two, making Paul’s explanation four sentences long, not three.
“Alright Paul, I get it. I’ll start asking the Lord what things there are in my life that I can be thankful for, because of the problems Agathon has brought into my life …”
 1 Thessalonians 5:18
 Ephesians 5:20
 Psalm 103:19
 Romans 8:28
I so enjoy these characters and the way they model prayer for us.
Alexander Rich on page 148 of the same book, deals with this SAME issue as he prays:
“Lord, Your word says that when I need wisdom I should ask of You and You will give it to me generously. Oh Father, I need Your wisdom today.”
Deep in silence and waiting upon God, he fidgeted thinking about pulling out his Wesley Family Prayers Book, as he had come to call the book that he found when he and Dwight were stuck overnight in New York City, those many years ago. As he started to reminisce about that trip, he had an immediate sense that the evil one wanted to distract him.
“Your Word also says that I am to be thankful regarding everything. So I thank You, Lord, for this heaviness on my heart. I don’t know why it is there, but I trust You to unfold for me what I can give thanks for.”
“Lord,” Alexander continued, “I know that it makes no sense to thank You for difficulties, but you have shown me that You are sovereign, that Your throne is above all of the heavens. You are my light and my salvation, whom do I have to fear?” Chuckling to himself he went on, “You, oh Lord, are awesome! You have given me a peace that transcends every bit of my understanding, a peace that I did not have a few minutes ago. Oh Lord, forgive me for the times I come to You with prayers and petitions and fail to also be thankful.”
 Psalm 103:19
 Psalm 27:1a
 Philippians 4:7
 James 1:5a
 Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them.