Simple prayers that move mountains

Phil & Lauren Nelson - Contributing columnists

During certain seasons of my life I have struggled deeply with anxiety. Even as far back as high school I can remember trying to find ways to cope with what seemed like a sea of emotional waves.

Then one day I felt moved to start thanking God for “pointless” things. It wasn’t a huge spiritual overhaul, but it was a gentle nudge that urged me to start small, with the emotional capacity that I had, and to thank Him for what I could see right in front of me.

I remember between classes just saying, “Thank you God for this locker.” That wasn’t too hard.

So I moved on to whatever silly thing I could think of to be thankful for. “Thank you that I brushed my teeth, that I’m wearing shoes, that I’m breathing. That I have a head of hair that won’t do what I want it to. Thank you for this paper clip.”

When I felt anxiety pull me in, I would start to thank Him for every little thing that I was surrounded with until I suddenly caught myself smiling – even if only because the things I was thanking Him for seemed so ridiculous.

But thankfulness led me out of darkness and into the place of peace where God wants us to dwell.

There’s a song by Jeff & Sherri Easter (fitting for this weekend) that says, “There’s a roof up above me, I’ve got a good place to sleep, there’s food on my table and shoes on my feet. You gave me Your love Lord and a fine family. Thank You Lord for Your blessings on me.”

There is so much power in thanking God. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains.”

And although Jesus was speaking to his disciples specifically about faith, I believe a broad truth from that statement can be applied to other forms of spiritual living such as love, joy, peace, and hope.

Start small. Start with what you have the capacity to accomplish. Just a small amount of thankfulness can shift your outlook and lift your burdens.

I would dare to say, if you have simple and honest thankfulness as small as a mustard seed, you can overflow with joy.

You can move the mountains of your anxieties and fears.

Here’s an Easter Weekend Challenge: Begin counting all the blessings in your life, big or small. Initiate a conversation as you count your blessings with your spouse, your family, your significant other, or a close friend.

Watch and see what thankfulness and deep gratitude will do to your perspective. Speaking of perspective, for those who believe that Jesus did not stay on the cross, but three days later, He rose from the dead, conquering sin, hell, and the grave, it is those who have the ability to see life through the perspective of the resurrection.

And that, my friends, changes everything.

How are you doing with living your life in the perspective of the resurrection? No matter where you are in life, you can step right back into alignment of God’s amazing love and the perspective of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Would you mind if I do that with you right now? “God of heaven and earth, I come to you through what Your Son Jesus did for me on the cross, and I ask for your forgiveness for seeking after other things & people that are not God and will never fully satisfy. Give me the grace (undeserved favor) to keep my perspective on You, Your Word, Your Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I pray You will catch me when I fall and place my life back into alignment with You. I am so grateful for Your love and the amazing act of rescuing me from sin and darkness. My heart is full with thanksgiving for every single blessing you have poured into my life. Thank You for saving me. Amen.”

In effort to keep my perspective through the cross and resurrection in this unprecedented season, here’s an acronym I came up for COVID19: CHRIST OFFERS VICTORY IN DEFEAT Joshua 1:9 (look it up).

This week let’s be thankful for all that Christ has done for us and remember that even a drop of His blood was enough to change the entire world and the future for all mankind.

He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter & Happy Resurrection Day!

Phil Nelson is Pastor at Elevation Community Church in Blanchester.

Phil & Lauren Nelson

Contributing columnists