Prayer: Present Your Requests to God
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything. That sounds like a pretty tall order. There are so many things in our lives that it seems are worthy of our anxiety at times. It might be financial viability or provision for our families, it might be a relational issue that we or a loved ones are having, or it might be tensions at our place of work. These (and many others) are situations that are very central and important to our lives, so they can easily cause us to have anxiety about what may happen.
This is where Philippians helps us understand one of the purposes of prayer. We previously saw, in John 15, how prayer centers our wills, wishes, and desires to be like that of God’s. Philippians 4 clearly shows us that one of the benefits of prayer is that as we lay our anxieties and worries before God, He takes them upon Himself, replacing it with peace.
The beautiful part of this peace we receive is that it is not separate from the person of Jesus. We read that this peace we receive is the peace “of God”. As we cast our burdens upon the Lord, this peace of God will guard our hearts and minds “in Christ Jesus”. So much of what God gives us comes in the person of Jesus and through our union with Him. Peace is not an exception.
In addition, God’s Word says that this peace would pass all understanding. In some ways, this is wildly unnerving, because that means there may be situations in which we won’t understand why we have peace. We may not know exactly how things work out. Our trust in God, His sovereignty over all situations, the care and provision that He shows to His children, and His understanding and knowing of our current situation will replace the confidence we have about the process which brings a solution. In these times, our faith will be stretched, but without fail, we see that God is faithful.
Finally, as we are entering the holiday season, especially with Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, we see the manner in which we should pray. As we pray and petition God for our needs and anxious situations, we are to go with Him in a posture of thanksgiving. Even in times of anxiety, we know there are many things we have to be thankful for. So in our prayer life, let us stop seeing God as a divine fast food worker, quickly bringing about what we order, but instead, as a sovereign, loving, and benevolent Father who knows us, loves us, and cares for us. May we be thankful that we have such a Father.
Action Steps: Read Daniel 9:4-17. How does Daniel’s posture of prayer help us understand the manner of thanksgiving in which we are to approach God with our needs and anxieties? As we head into Thanksgiving, thankful for all the ways in which God has blessed us, spend time in prayer, pairing your thanksgiving with a trustful laying of your burdens on God.