by Pastor Tim Burt
Philippians 4:6 NIV says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Did you notice what this says? It says, “Don’t be anxious.” In other words, quit worrying. It says don’t worry about anything! That’s a pretty tall order considering what some people are facing this very moment. Instead we are instructed to pray and petition God. What does that really mean?
Before we talk about prayer, let’s understand intimacy with God. Intimacy with God which is what God wants with you. But, that cannot happen until someone has asked Jesus to be their Lord and Savior and asked and received forgiveness for their sins. Once you have given your life to Christ, intimacy—heart to heart conversation with the God of the universe becomes a Father to you. And you know that any good father deeply loves His child and every child loves their good father. Because you love Him, you are drawn to learn of Him through His Word the Bible. And then something happens. You begin to talk to Him in your heart. We we talk to other people, it’s called communication. When we talk to God it’s called prayer. Talking or praying with God can, over time, almost become like breathing—something you do all the time. When you get to that place in your life—Oh happy day!
The general meaning of the biblical word prayer implies communing with God—taking all of God in, who He is and His love toward you, and having an intimate but reverential time of worship and/or conversation with Him.
The biblical word petition refers to making requests of God. We are instructed that instead of becoming anxious and fearful about what we are facing, we are to instead make petition or requests of God. And most importantly, we are to do so with thanksgiving! That means as you lift these things before God, we are to worship and elevate God in our heart remembering that He is God. He loves you and as the Bible says, His arm is not short. He doesn’t have a power shortage. He can help you with anything! He wants to! And so, as we pray, we thank Him in the moment in advance and in faith because you do trust and know He loves you. You know He is working on your behalf no matter what the circumstances appear to be. Thanksgiving is faith in what you can’t see but know in your heart! And that is why we have awesome Bible so many stories to encourage of men and women of faith who’ve experienced His miracles in the most impossible circumstances.
Why don’t prayers always seem to be answered as quickly as we like? One reason is because God often uses people to answer prayer and He won’t override their will. That means He has to move upon their hearts. Some will obey God and some won’t; just like sometimes you don’t. When people don’t, then God goes on to someone else. He gives people the chance to be used of Him. The primary way God brings blessing into our lives is through people. He is not limited to using people but it is His preference. Miracles of God of many kinds manifest in lives every day. Most happen with the inclusion of people like the four men that dropped their sick friend through the roof of a house to get him in front of Jesus!
Regardless of what people do, God will answer your prayers. He will be working behind the scenes on your behalf. He is a loving Father. And although you think you know just how your prayers should be answered, the Bible says God does “beyond what we could ask or think.” So, answered prayers will happen to our benefit if we’ll trust Him in faith and not try to create our own fix. I know anxiousness tries to invade our present moments. It’s hindsight that often reveals how God has taken care of us. Cast out those anxious moments and don’t forget to remember how God has helped you in the past.
When we finally learn not to be anxious but instead trust God, and when we are diligent to lift petitions before God with thanksgiving, then and only then does the next verse, Philippians 4:7 NIV come into play. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is when you will experience God’s supernatural peace—a peace that is beyond human comprehension. It is an inner peace that comes because of your trust in God. You’ll feel it and people will notice the difference in you!
And one more thing, be used of God to be an answer to someone’s prayer. If you feel God leading you to pray for someone, encourage someone, or to do something for someone, then do it. Don’t put it off. Don’t delay being used to be a part of someone else’s answer to prayer. You may be the very answer they have been praying for and God wants to use you as the conduit! Practice all this and you’ll be amazed as God shapes your character into this faith-filled, peaceful, trusting child of God!
Philippians 4:7 NIV “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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