Before I move on to the next passages of Philippians 4, I’d like to revisit a previous portion…after all, we just got done exploring how we are to “put into practice whatever we have learned from Paul,” right? And one of the fundamental lessons I’ve learned so far is the importance of prayer when striving for an anxiety-free life filled with peace.
I was reminded of this passage this morning as I read my Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young. Here’s an excerpt of the reading:
When you bring Me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before Me. Speak to Me candidly; pour out your heart. Then thank Me for the answers that I have set into motion long before you can discern results. When your requests come to mind again, continue to thank Me for the answers that are on the way. If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank Me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind-set becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises.
Sarah Young bases her writing on these two verses:
Colossians 4: 2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” (NASB)
2 Peter 1: 3-4, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (NASB)
Her interpretation of Scripture brings great comfort to a soul that is constantly running low on peace. As anxiety begins to rise while I see the days of my yearly check-ups fast approach, I’m in great need of a reminder not to succumb to panicky prayers. This reading gives me a technique, a tactic or an antidote if you will, that should keep me from such anxiety-ridden petitions: remaining in an attitude of gratitude.
There is no need to be anxious once we realize that He has already given to us everything we need “pertaining life and godliness.” By calling us and giving us knowledge of Himself, He has taken care of our every need…therefore, our job is to devote ourselves to constant communication with Him, keeping alert for the enemy’s schemes that try to derail us, and offering thanksgiving for the victory we know we already have.
Even if our present circumstances do not speak of victory but rather scream of defeat, pain, suffering and disappointment…the promise is that it is only for a little while. (1 Peter 1: 6) There soon will be a day of no more tears, no more pain and no more fear! (Revelations 21: 4)
That’s why, in those moments when the chills of fear pinch the bottom of our spine…rather than resorting to panic-induced prayers, we ought to remember this truth,
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7
Give thanks for the answers that are already on their way and rest in the peace of His knowledge and presence. Trust Him!