I have always heard that we should start our prayers with thanksgiving but I guess I really never understood completely why until this weeks lesson on the "Shoe's of Peace" (Eph 6:15). I guess I always thought it was just because that's what God wants from us, but I am always realizing that the guidelines God gives us in His Word is to help us and not just because "He said so". He loves His children and wants them to have an abundant life (spiritually and emotionally speaking). In this study, it asked me to list three things that I am grateful for, even during the most difficult of times. I'm going to share mine, just to help illustrate better 1. Gods Word and The Holy Spirit to guide and ground me. 2. Answered prayers for my husband, a family and a farm. 3. My job, which is the best job I've ever had. After listing these, the next assignment was to think of how I could incorporate these three things I am thankful for into my prayers. So as I did, I realized that the very things I am thankful for are sometimes the very things I complained about in pray, with a grumpy heart. So what I discovered is that when I start with being thankful for Gods blessings and provisions it seems that most of what I was going to pray about just seems to disappear and are replaced with peace and gratitude. God is so good and His Word is always so applicable! Here is an excerpt from the study I'm doing that helped me really grasp it better "When God sees this type of prayerful, grateful faith, when our mind is squared on Him, the peace of God expands within us. It stabilizes our runaway emotions, centers our minds, guides our footsteps and even overflows into our experiences with others. It cools our sharp tongue, dismantles our emotional walls, and keeps us from being so difficult to be around. This is how we put on the shoes of peace-we trust and express gratitude. Then, we experience the peace of God that surpasses all understanding."