Sunday, June 23, 2013

By Prayer and Petition


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  Philippians 4:6
 
Last week we ended a series "Becoming a Christian Soldier" talking about PRAYER (click HERE to view last week's post).  I wanted to continue discussing prayer this week since prayer is so very important in every Christian's life.

Let's start with the definition of
prayer - "an address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought,
- an earnest request or wish,
- an act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise or thanksgiving
- a religious observance, either public or private"
(these definitions are taken from Merriam-Webster.com & thefreedictionary.com)
 
The beginning part of the verse above is a stern warning "do not be anxious about anything."  Wow does this ever speak to me! - I have been a nervous person for my entire life - I started showing signs of anxiety when I was only 3 or 4 years old.  (Please forgive the icky visual of the following:) I used to vomit every time I became nervous & I used to warn my parents by saying "my choke is coming."  This nervous vomiting continued during the beginning of my school career and I would be sick on the front porch almost every morning before going to Kindergarten.  Slowly, I made some friends and became less and less nervous about being in that social environment (since it was/is a social anxiety).  The verse above couldn't be any clearer than "do not be anxious about anything."  There is NO situation no matter how large or small that requires us to be anxious!  Never worry about anything!  Worry only wears our physical, our mental & our emotional self down.  Worry is exhausting.

I just love the next part of the verse: "but in everything, by prayer and petition."  This is the opposite of the previous paragraph where we learned that we should worry about NOTHING, rather we should trust God in EVERYTHING by prayer and petition.  When I think of "petition" I think of a political plea where supporters go door to door gathering signatures & other supporters.  Those types of political petitions are time consuming but worth every second because the outcome benefits many people not just yourself.  It is the same way with prayer - the more time you spend with God and the more requests that you send Him - the more answers you will receive.  (Keep in mind that not all answers will be the answer that you wanted to receive).  "Everything" means that you can & should go to God always & ask Him for help in both small and large areas of your life.

Every part of this verse is equally important - "present your requests to God with THANKSGIVING."  For some people the "not worrying" part is the most difficult and for others it is the "being thankful" part that is the most difficult.  There will be many times when God's answer to a prayer might not be what we wanted to hear, however we MUST be thankful.  You'll be surprised that praying for a problematic situation with thanksgiving (a nasty neighbor for example) might actually soften your heart towards that situation (or person).  Be thankful before, during and after your prayer. 

Also, an important part in this last portion of this verse is the use of the word "present."  In other words do NOT demand.  "Present" used in this way gives me a visual picture of us kneeling down with our heads bowed in utmost reverence, worship, respect and admiration.


There are 3 things to remember daily: 
1.  Do NOT worry 
2.  Pray in EVERY situation 
3.  ALWAYS be thankful 

 



 
 
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