God so much wants to hear our prayers. But to keep them from becoming too self-focused, God wants us to always remember to give thanks. It is so easy for us to turn prayer into a request line. We are the ones who are left bereft when thanksgiving and praise are robbed from our prayers. Without praise our hearts grow dim because all we think about are problems and prayers become a long and tiresome, boring, tedious wish list without any meaningful visible ending.
The question comes to mind – when do we begin to remove ourselves from our own life’s equation, which we worry about too much, and then let God be God? We do not want our lives governed by ourselves and our fascination with idols called “worry, anxiety.” We want to discard all of them as “yesterday’s news.” But when we try to do that, we almost immediately pick them right back up!!!
We pray to God – “As a deer pants for the waters, so my soul longs for you!”
Then what comes almost immediately after praying – WORRY God will not be on the job and our prayers will fail to meet our standards of acceptance, action. God will not act immediately enough for us, and the worry will go marching on. We will always rationalize significant rationales for worrying over our worries. It is coming to that place where we embrace more of God than we do ourselves.
John the Baptist kind of set the standard we all hope (and pray) to live by. He said in John 3:30 – He MUST increase, but I MUST decrease! Except, John does not give us any more advice, nor does he give us any instructional manuals. It is in this place of hyper-dramatic worrying over our worries we read Paul’s words.
Philippians 4:6-7 Amplified Bible
6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
This is one of the most comforting and encouraging texts in the Bible. Believers can always find renewed strength here. The wonderful Gospel truth is that God is present with us always. He is near to every believer every moment of every day and He knows exactly what we are going through – nothing is ever hidden.
Be anxious for nothing stands in contrast to worrying which reveal a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty and power. As believers, we need to realize that our confidence in life does not come from ourselves but from the all-powerful God of the universe. That is why Paul tells us not to worry about anything.
If we worry, we are basically testifying to our steadfast and immovable belief that God cannot handle our “stuff.” By contrast we are to take everything to God in prayer and His peace will guard our hearts and minds. Believers, who stand firm in Christ, respond to trials, endure hardship with thankful prayer.
The man, Master Rabbi Jesus told the gathered crowds and His followers in the Sermon on the Mount. “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… Do not worry about tomorrow… (Matthew 6:25-34). What incredible news is this? We have a heavenly Father who loves us, cares for us, is able to help and support us – so why worry or be anxious?
But in everything by prayer and supplication. Paul emphasizes our great need to take all things without exception to God in prayer. As soon as we have a need or problem, we are not to try to take out a patent on it and get rich, we are to take it to the Lord in prayer. We present our requests to the Lord with trust, relying upon His assured and gracious provision to help all of us in our times of need.
Recall Abraham’s servant at the spring in Nahor asking for specific guidance in finding a bride for Isaac (Genesis 24:12-14), or Hezekiah spreading the letter of his enemy Senacharib before the Lord in the Temple (Isaiah 37:14-20).
With thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. The attitude we are to have when presenting our supplications to the Lord is one of thankfulness, 100% trusting Him for the answers that He will reveal to us through His Holy Spirit. God causes everything to work together for our good and His glory.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God will give us a peace far beyond our understanding that will guard our heart and mind as we endure and stand firm in the Lord.
1 Peter 5:10 says, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us that, “God will not leave us or forsake us.”
We can have this wonderful peace as believers.
God will answer our requests in His way and time, and God will give us His peace which surpasses all our comprehension. It is a peace that is greater than anything we could ever imagine.
It is a, immensely stable, securing factor that will give us rest in our sovereign Lord. “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
For us, right now, there needs to be daily reminders, through diligent, prudent, study of Scriptures, surrender, and a renewed commitment to the only One who guides us, protects us and keep us strong. Once we embrace peace with God, we can then go on to celebrate the peace of God, day by day. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Living With God’s Story
In contrast to the franticness that can be seen in people living without a sense of God’s story in their lives, the followers of Jesus can live with a deep, lasting sense of peace.
Some of our stories actually start pretty badly, with broken families, bodies, and emotions that experience deep pain—and often terrible kinds of abuse.
Even so, we can still know that our Storyteller has promised to work everything out for good by the end of the story. And that means that if everything’s not yet all right, then we’re not yet at the end.
As we live in the part of the story between our own brokenness today and God’s story titled “you will live happily ever after, forever! Amen” someday, we can know, if we genuinely want to know, every chapter of our story will somehow serve the living purpose that God wrote into our lives from the very beginning.
When we live with a story like that, we are changed. Instead of feeling the cold desperation of worrying, scrambling every which direction for everything under the sun we want to but worry excessively we cannot ever have, we can relax.
Instead of trying nervously to achieve some success right now, we can allow God’s Holy Spirit to make us new over time. Because we know that the end of our story will be a good one, we can let God create his fruit in us: his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). And through it all, God’s peace envelops us and it surrounds us like a shield.
What kind of story are you living now?
Give God His Due!
Give God the chance to be God ….
Sweet Hour of Prayer by William Walford, 1772-1850
1. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
that calls me from a world of care,
and bids me at my Father’s throne
make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
my soul has often found relief,
and oft escaped the tempter’s snare
by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!
2. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
the joys I feel, the bliss I share
of those whose anxious spirits burn
with strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
where God my Savior shows his face,
and gladly take my station there,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
3. Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
thy wings shall my petition bear
to him whose truth and faithfulness
engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since he bids me seek his face,
believe his word, and trust his grace,
I’ll cast on him my every care,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray with thanksgiving,
Father, teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your Holy Spirit lead me on level ground. I see your faithfulness and goodness in what you have done for me throughout my life. I think about these things, and I thirst for you. Let me hear of your unfailing love every morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Keep me on firm footing for the glory of your name. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.