The Priority of Prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)
Philippians 4:6-7, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The word careful has the sense of ‘anxious’ or ‘worried.’ The thought is ‘don’t be worried about things.’ Rather than worrying about a matter, take it to the Lord in prayer and He will give peace of heart in the matter. How often we worry when we could have the peace of God within. Whatever we are facing, or whatever we need, we should pray about it. God’s children never have an excuse to worry. The word prayer as addressed to God; means to ask. It refers to the communion with God. It is the principle of directing our heart and mind toward heaven. The word supplication has more to do with ‘seeking,’ ‘asking,’ or ‘entreating.’ After having addressed God, we are to make the request to Him. The word requests has to do with the actual petition or need. In every case of prayer, it should always be seasoned with thanksgiving. Notice: Rather than worrying about a problem, we are to pray about it by addressing God in praise and worship. Ask His approval. Make specific requests and do all of the above with thanksgiving. Paul is not referring to peace with God stated in Romans 5:1. He is touching upon the peace of God which surpasses all our understanding. It cannot be easily described, but it is very real. As we, by faith, take our problems and concerns to the throne of grace, He has promised to “keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The word keep has the idea to ‘guard’ or ‘protect.’ Rather than worrying, God’s Word directs us to take the problem to the Lord and His peace will guard our minds. There is an infinite quantity of God’s peace readily available if only we would take our burdens to the Lord in prayer.
Paul enjoyed the intimate relationship with God both as a Father and Friend. Regardless of how much believers know about the Bible, or its doctrinal truths, they must pray if they are to grow and be of service to God. Praying should be as natural for a disciple of Jesus Christ as talking to one's earthly father. Probably the best analogy of the importance of prayer is that of breathing. Prayer should be as natural to the disciple of Jesus Christ as breathing is to the human body, for prayer is the believer’s spiritual breath. The reason so many believers are always spiritually tired and weary is they have been holding their spiritual breath. NOTICE: The Christian who says, "I simply can't find time for prayer," is like the person who says, "I just can't find time to breathe." As a result, the disciple who does not pray regularly will spiritually suffocate.
God always answers our prayers. It is very important to remember that sometimes God says "yes," sometimes He says "no," sometimes He says "wait," and sometimes He answers with even much more than what we asked originally. One of the great tragedies of modern day Christianity is that we simply do not pray as we should. The Lord has placed all of the power and resources of Heaven at our disposal to do His work, “yet ye [we] have not, because ye [we] ask not” (James 4:2). Prayer is not an empty ritual, nor is it a religious exercise. It is how a child of God goes to the throne of grace based on the relationship He has freely given us to seek His help, which He has promised to give. Though there are times when a quick prayer is all that is needed (think of Peter sinking beneath the water), in most cases the serious issues we face will require sustained (continual), fervent (passionate) and serious (important) prayer.
PRAYER: Lord, I humbly ask You to graciously restore within me the spirit of supplication and intercession. Forgive me for ignoring this important work, and grant me a heart that desires to pray. I’ve just been struggling with fear and doubt that has troubled the peace I have from You. I am casting these things Your way right now. I’m naming them and assigning them under Your care. I’m choosing not to worry about them anymore because You will deal with them under the authority of Jesus’ name, Amen
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.