This message was preached by Chris B at Word of Grace Church on September 11th, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here.
Phil 4:6-7- “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.”
As I was reading this I came to a revelation that I may not exactly understand the idea of Biblical prayer. This might be alarming to you because I lead you in prayer during the last 15 min. I wonder if you are not so different from me.
By prayer and supplication- This is the difficulty or confusion I fell into. What's the difference bet the two words? The two words in isolation makes sense but both the words are there.
Q. What is Paul trying to illustrate to me?
We are at the end of the letter where Paul is wrapping it up. Perhaps this confusion was already cleared in the beginning of the letter in Phil 1:3-4. What is said in short hand here is explained in the beginning.
Phil 1:3-4 “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy”
So Paul is busy with life and he remembers the Philippians and thanks God for them. And this fits under Paul's paradigm of prayer. He did not stop and go into a closet to pray. There is formal prayer, acts of prayer which we just did, and a state of prayer. This is demonstrated in verse 3 and in verse 9 he is praying for their love.
In this background, chapter 4 makes sense. In the broad sense, this prayer happens in constant communion. 1 Thes 5:16 instructs us to pray without ceasing. This is the idea of abiding in Christ. This is a very parallel idea.
In John 15:4-5 Jesus explains the same idea of remaining. How important is it that we pray without ceasing and abiding in Christ!
We all have things that we critically need to function in a day. E.g., coffee! Abiding is an active and not a passive activity. This is a posture of desperation.
Q. What does it look like?
Heb 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When we realize that we are desperate for this we will shed everything. We need to get rid of everything that will prevent us from abiding. We need that kind of desperation.
Q. What does it look like in our daily life?
Chapter 4:6- When I look at my family I give thanks to God. When I look at the church I give thanks to God. When we see evil etc, we need to see the sovereignty of God in that and that He can save them too. When we see a corrupt world we don't feel hopeless but see a King in control of everything! This helps is give thanks.
I don't think we think of this. We often think of prayer as an act of prayer which often leads to selfish prayer. We are not abiding when we do this.
God warns us about this in Phil 3:12 where our mind is focused on earthly things. We are citizen s of heaven
Phil 4:3-4 begins with negative and ends with positive. Same idea said in two ways. God's peace will guard our hearts and minds. Heart is where are affections are. Mind is where our thoughts are.
So if we relate to God in this way we will not have anxiety. Paul knows this because he is writing from a Prison cell.
So let's remain in prayer always- A state of prayer is different!
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.