Paul’s thanksgiving begins by expressing the privilege he has in praying for the church at Philippi. And he uses a couple of words that should reflect the thanksgiving we should all have in prayer. In verse 4 he says, “always in every prayer…”. His prayers for the people were marked by persistence, Not just Philippi, but all the churches. Paul’s thankfulness never wavered, and neither did his prayers. Satan came after Paul and his ministry in a sundry of ways; From imprisonment to shipwrecks, snakebites, a thorn in the flesh, and civil unrest in the towns he visited. Yet, Paul prayed
Let me tell you, a fervent, persistent praying child of God, who is consistently besieging the Throne of Grace day and night, is more dangerous to Satan than an active person encumbered with busyness! I heard someone say the other day, “Just say a little prayer for me”. Maybe you have heard that, or said that, "Just say a little prayer for me”. Do you understand that there is no such thing as a “Little Prayer”. Every prayer brought before the God of the Universe is Big! This is an opportunity to approach the King of Kings and Lord of Lord. This is making your petitions known unto the Sovereign God of History and Creation. There is nothing little about each and every prayer brought before Him. He takes each one seriously. He hears the prayers of His people, and He answers them all! Paul tells us later in the book, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with Thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”
With that understanding Paul says at the end of the verse, "…with joy.” Where is joy found? “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy where?” Down in my heart. Verse 7 says, "because I have you in my heart...", so every time he prayed for the people, it was his highest joy and privilege because they were in His heart! Who do you pray for the most? Those who are in your heart What requests come to your heart and mind first? Those that consume your heart! That is where joy is found! Now, not every request is joyful. Sometimes what grips your heart is a struggle, or a person who needs Jesus. Maybe what consumes your heart is a situation or need. But, in your heart, you know that you can bring that request before the Father and it will be heard. Bringing that prayer to Him, you have the joy in knowing that is the best place, and the only place where God’s glory can shine in the situation!
So, you and I have joy because, "seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." That’s where thanksgiving begins - The joy of the heart