Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 5- Philippians 4:6

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

I was so excited to see this verse as today's subject. It is one half of my favorite piece of scripture. I am not exactly sure why it is a favorite as I struggle with it a lot. Even though I have engaged this particular verse literally hundreds of times, I still found something new.

I like that the verse is active. It starts out with the word "do." By its very nature it is practical. Due to the fact that it is in the word of God, I also believe that it makes it possible. That is an amazing thing since the next thing it says is not to worry about anything. I often seem to worry about most everything except when I am intently focused on not worrying and trusting God.

The "anything" and "everything" of this verse is reminiscent of our previous study on Day 2 with the word "whatever" from Philippians 1:27. Again, it brings to mind the day-to-day, extraordinary, intriguing, fascinating, boring, happy, sad, tremendously difficult, extremely easy, and all that is between. In all of that, don't worry and be thankful.

Thankful for what? Our blessings? The things we learn? The difficulties themselves? The joys AND sorrows? I think the answer to all the above is "YES!" That, once again, seems impossible. How can you be thankful when you lose a job? How can you be thankful when someone else receives all the things you ask for? How can you be thankful when the loved one does not get well? How can you be thankful for dirty dishes and no time to wash them? How can you be thankful for having to do it all alone? How can you be thankful when the one you love dies, is dying, or leaves you all alone? That is heavy stuff.

I believe the verse tells us how. It says by prayer and petition. What is that? Prayer is taking it to God, talking to him about it, and trusting Him with it. I think most of us understand in general what prayer is. Maybe we are struggling with the types of prayer or how to do it or what it's purpose truly is, but we get that it is intended to be communicating with our Heavenly Father.

What about petition, though? As I have reflected on this I have come to several of my own conclusions. First, I believe that petition is to bring it over and over as long as it is on your heart. It makes me think of the story in Luke 18 where Jesus tells the story of the persistent widow who goes to the judge asking for justice. Jesus says that the judge gives her justice because of her constant petitions. He goes on to say that God will also grant justice to those who are persistent. He does not tire of our requests; he longs to hear the desires of our hearts as long as we have those desires. Second, I think of our earthly petitions. When we want something done in our society, we start a petition. We get LOTS AND LOTS of people who agree with us to sign on. Shouldn't we do that with our prayers to God? James 5 tells us to confess and pray for each other for healing. I believe this is the other meaning of petitioning God; pray together and pray for each other specifically, frequently, and consistently.

Finally, present these requests to God. To me this means quit trying to do it myself. It is God who handles our requests and He does not need us to give our worries to Him and then try and figure it out and fix it ourselves. The idea of "presenting" them to Him is to give Him the present (gift) of our requests. We don't take gifts back. Once they are given they belong to the receiver of the gift. When we present our requests to God, they are His. We are to leave them with Him and not try and take them back.

To me, that is heavy stuff. True stuff, but very hard to do. Challenging.

Peace to you~


No comments:

Post a Comment