Paul: “…but in everything by prayer…”

Yesterday, we saw Hezekiah’s wonderful pattern of prayer in 2 Kings 18. Today in Philippians, we have more encouragement to pray “in everything,”

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John Piper on Philippians 4:6-7

The effect of faithful prayer here is stated first negatively, then positively.

  1. Negatively: “Don’t be anxious about anything.”
  2. Positively: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Paul promises that a life of faithful, Christ-dependent, Christ-exalting prayer will be a life protected from anxiety (and its many sinful fruits) by God’s peace.

If you want victory over worry and you want to have the steady enjoyment of God’s peace, then here is Paul’s prescription: “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Don’t miss the words “in everything.In everything . . . let your requests be made known to God.” Pray about everything. Stay in a mindset of prayer all day. Don’t just pray in crises. Pray about everything—that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do you would glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31 ). The most crucial prayer for every situation and action is: “Hallowed by Thy name (Matthew 6:9).

How shall we do this? Paul uses three words. In everything “ by prayer ”—that’s the broad word of spiritual devotion, including different kinds of prayer. And “ supplication ”—that’s the narrow word that focuses on the kind of prayer, namely, asking for help. “ With thanksgiving ”—that’s the humble, non-demanding mindset that flavors all of prayer. Making requests thankfully means that we will be content and thankful with whatever God wisely and lovingly gives us. And we know that he will hear our prayer and wisely and lovingly give us what’s best for us.

When we let our requests be made known to God like this—in the devotion of prayer, in many specific requests for help, with a heart that is thankful for everything God designs for us, the pleasures and the pain—then his peace will guard our minds and free us from anxiety in a way that defies mere rational explanation; it surpasses all understanding.

Oh, that the Lord might make you feel the joy and the wonder and the power and privilege and the peace of a life of prayer!

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