“Sweet Hour of Prayer! Sweet Hour of Prayer, that Calls Me from a World of Care. Bids me at my Father’s Throne, make all my Wants, Wishes Known.” Giving God His Due!!! Philippians 4:7

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

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. 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?

Your “story”?

God’s “story”?

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.

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Embrace God, the Father! Embrace God the Son! Embrace God the Holy Spirit! Celebration of their Presence!

Every single moment of every single day there are too many choices of what to think about and focus on. We can choose to focus on what is “true, noble, right, pure and lovely.” In all the ways God, our Father has been faithful to mankind throughout history and the amazing promises he has for our future.  

We can meditate on the truth that, “the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us”. Renewing our mind on these truths lead to actions of faith, that have allowed mere men to walk on water, pray down rain from heaven and stop the sun. It also allows us, like Paul, to rest and experience peace, and all the fruits of the spirit, no matter what nature of the circumstance we are all facing.

 Whatever it is which we choose to focus on, to prioritize, is what we are going to feel. Whichever side we allow to consume our thoughts is the side that will consume our lives. Cultivating a mind of faith is the difference between living in the power and rest God desires for us or living in anxiety and sleepless nights.

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.

At some point in our lives, without exception, we have all dealt with or suffered from worry, stress, doubt and anxiety. Call it what you want but we all have to deal with it. No one is immune from the effects of life’s current circumstances.

We still are who we are. We are still where we have always been. Our life is still our life – good, bad or indifferent – it is what it is right in this exact moment.

Rich. Poor or somewhere in between – if you are reading this, then, welcome, you are in the midst of the same reality you were in five or ten minutes ago.

It is still pandemic. The Variant is running amok.

The Variant is very much a threat to our health and safety.

Will I or won’t I get the virus?
Will I get a little bit sick, or will I get major league sick?
If I get sick, what are the implications for my job?
What about my spouse? My children, My family?

When you see bills piling up and you’re not sure how you’re going to pay them.

When you experience an illness or injury which makes you wonder if you’ll ever be able to play or do the things you love so very much to do.

Will I still be able to provide for and feed and care for my family?

In such moments when life is planting every weight imaginable upon your shoulders, when because of all that you see and hear in the world around you, you question your salvation, or when you’re wondering if you’re about to lose your job, these are just a few of life’s many trials that can cause you anxiety, worry, stress, and even doubt.

And guess what? 2022 is only three days old …. 362 more days to go till 2023.

What can possibly happen to any one of us between now and then?

What can we do in all of the time between now and then?

Breathe! then pray! Breathe again! Let Go! Breathe again! Let GOD be GOD!

Embrace God, the Father! Embrace God the Son! Embrace God the Holy Spirit! Breathe! then Pray! then breathe again, let it be a Celebration of their Presence!

I love what these two verses remind me to do.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6(NASB)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NASB)

Try reading them directly from your Bible.

No Smart Phones or Computer Screens or I Pads or any other techie device.

Pick up your bible, slowly thumb through its pages until you get to our verses for today.

If your fingers get caught on any particular page, read something on that page. It could be there is a divine reason why God grabbed your finger in exactly that moment and on exactly that page. It may not be immediately obvious what that might be, breathe, pray! and breathe again, let go and study each page anyway!

Then please keep on going. Keep on thumbing through the pages of the Bible. Repeating as often as your fingers, your thoughts, get stuck on a page God has set aside for you.

In the process of thumbing through your Bible, do you know what you are gradually doing as your body, mind and spirit are focusing more, prioritizing more – GOD?

You are PRAYING! Perhaps with words too silent for even you to hear or perceive.

But, wholeheartedly believe exactly this, there is a whole lot of prayer going on within you with each and every single Word of God you are now reading, trying to absorb!

Romans 8:26-28
English Standard Version

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

In the process of thumbing through your Bible, do you know what God is doing?

He is “enveloping you, bubble wrapping” you in His Word. Your thoughts are slowly, but surely and certainly turning away from whatever it was which had brought you to your Bible in the first place. Let GOD!

Eventually, I suspect, and indeed, do sincerely and steadfastly and immovably believe, you will eventually, inevitably find yourself at exactly our devotional text for today:

Philippians 4:6-7
J.B. Phillips New Testament

6-7 Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.

Breathe! Pray! Let Go! Let GOD be GOD!

Breathe! Pray! Let Go! Let Jesus Christ be your Salvation!

Breathe! Pray! Let Go! Let the Holy Spirit be your Prayer Warrior!

Prayer is the privilege of people who are saved by grace thorough faith in Christ, for by His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, He tore down the dividing wall between God and man and gave us access to His throne of grace, for mercy to find help in time of need. We are exhorted not to worry about anything, but instead to pray confidently about everything. We are to tell the Lord our needs, laying our petitions humbly at His feet and thanking Him for all He has done.

We are not to be anxious about anything but are to strive every day to bring everything in life to the Lord in prayer. We are to pray aright, and this is only possible as we embrace, celebrate and abide in our Savior Christ and He in us. We are to strive every day to keep our hearts free from fretting and worry and this can only be achieved as we embrace God, the Father, cast all our care and concern on the Lord Jesus – for He cares for us. (Isaiah 55, Matthew 11:28-30)

Being anxious for nothing is not a suggestion… it is a covenant command and a covenant responsibility for all who are born from above. Our anxiety, fear and worry not only demonstrates our lack of confidence in God and a lack of faith in His Word, but it is also deliberate disobedience to His clear directive. The more we embrace, celebrate, recognise God’s sovereign hand in our daily problems and life’s uncertainties, the more our anxious thoughts will simply melt away.

We are to humble ourselves, tell Him all our needs, lay all our burdens down at His feet and leave them exactly there… for as anxiety is set aside, so our faith will correspondingly increase. We are instructed to cast all our anxiety upon Him because He cares for us, but we are to do this with a heart of thanksgiving and an attitude of reverence and worship. Any inward-focused worries are to be replaced by God-celebrating, God-focused, God-embraced, dependent prayer.

Worry has a seriously detrimental effect on our fellowship with the Father, for as faith increases so worry is eliminated. But if worry is allowed to bubble-up in our heart and ferment in our mind, overwhelm our souls and spirits so too faith begins to stumble and falter and perhaps fail and the enemy is given a foothold.

There is nothing too great and nothing too small that cannot be given to the Lord, and there is no area in our life or the lives of others, about which we cannot come boldly to the throne of grace. There is no anxiety so disturbing that cannot be guarded by the perfect peace of God and no pain so deep that cannot be healed by His tender touch. There is no pain heaven cannot heal!

In worry, we talk to ourselves. In prayer, we talk to God. When we worry, we focus on the circumstances of life, but in prayer, we focus on our heavenly Father. Worry is self-centered and selfish and is rooted in the sin of unbelief, but prayer is God-centered and pleasing to Him, for prayer is built on a heart that implicitly trusts His whole Word and depends upon Him for all our needs.

True prayer comes from a worshipful heart of thanksgiving and praise that is looking to the Lord God by faith to supply everything we need, according to His riches in glory. When the prayer of faith sees the Lord as the sole Supplier of our every need, we should be anxious for 100% nothing but trust Him in everything!

It is by faith we were saved, and it must be by faith that we live. It is by faith that every anxious thought is utterly banished from our heart, and when faith in our heavenly Father is translated into prayers and supplication, with thanksgiving, our requests may be made in quietness, in confidence He will hear and answer.

It is to God that our prayers and petitions are made and through our Saviour that our prayers are presented, because we have been saved by grace through faith in Him. May we maintain a heart of grateful thanksgiving and praise for all His goodness and grace to us, and may we be anxious about nothing, but in everything through our grateful prayers and entreaties make our requests known to Him… and we will discover His peace that passes understanding, guarding our heart and mind, as we abide in our Savior Christ, and He is us.

In the name of God, the Father, and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear Lord, thank You that You know all things and that You know everything about me. Thank You that You hold today in Your hand and my future is secure in You. Thank You that I can cast all my cares upon You – for You care for me. Keep me from anxious thoughts and help me to train and discipline my mind on my Savior Jesus for I want to 100% depend entirely upon You in all things, not only today but in the days that lie ahead. This I pray in Jesus’ name, AMEN!

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