I came ready to speak on conflict management. It was my fourth and final address for the Geylang Methodist School (Secondary) beginning-of-term prayer and praise gathering. I was asked to focus on spiritual friendship for the sessions and I came ready to talk about conflict management because friends will fight and they need to know how to fight constructively.
The principal mentioned in passing that there would be more testimonies this time. So as I was about to speak, I felt convicted to share about thanksgiving. I still felt that the topic of conflict management was important but thought that it was better handled as a workshop, which needed more time than a talk for a prayer meeting.
So it was that, as I stepped up to speak on thanksgiving, I was drawn to share from Philippians 4:6–7.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. (NIV)
I said that it was critical that thanksgiving be part of prayer. When we give thanks for what God has done we remember His goodness and faithfulness and remember again that we are praying to a faithful God. Hence we can follow God’s injunction not to worry but to bring our concerns to a faithful God. This should result in more faith and confidence in our intercession.
After I spoke the group was organised into a circle. Folks were encouraged to share testimonies about how they had experienced God’s reality and faithfulness in their lives. I had to leave a bit earlier but what I heard was enough to blow me away. I can only imagine the quality of the prayers that arose out of this session of thanksgiving.
I am glad I obeyed the Lord’s prompting and changed my topic. This doesn’t happen often and I am glad I made the right call this time. I was thankful.