Prayer, Petition, and Thanksgiving

So, I promised y’all another post from Philippians. (Doesn’t “y’all” just sound *so* professional…) I went over Phil. 4:4 last time, so tonight I’d like to hone in on v. 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.

Now, I don’t know about you, but being anxious about everything is kind of my special gift lately. A few weeks ago, I was uber-stressed about a certain event taking place in my life, and I kept returning to this verse. Do not be anxious… And not just, “Do not be anxious”, but “Do not be anxious about anything.”

If you’re anything like me, you would have joined me in a good laugh. This is life we’re talking about here, Paul, and I’m sure the church in Philippi was getting a kick out of it, too. You can’t just say “Don’t be anxious about anything”. If you have anxiety, that’s just… that’s an impossible goal.

But Paul didn’t just say “do not be anxious about anything.” He knew what it was to be anxious, so he included a solution. He follows up with, “but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God.”

In every situation. EVERY situation. In every situation you face in life, here’s what you do – present your requests before God by prayer, petition, and thanksgiving.

(And if you’re even more like me, you looked up “petition”, just to make sure your definition was still accurate, and they hadn’t changed the dictionary or anything…)

I put that on sticky notes and put them in my school books to remind me – prayer, petition, thanksgiving.

Now, on just a first glance, that doesn’t look so bad. We like this whole “prayer and petition” thing, but… what is “thanksgiving” doing at the end there?

I admit, I was just fine with the first two. Pouring out my requests before the Lord was easy, but I faltered when I got to thanksgiving. What am I giving thanks for, here? I don’t think anxiety and thanksgiving are synonyms…

But it links back to verse 4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

And so I thanked God for the anxiety, for the troubles, for the trials. Because here’s the good news worth being thankful for- God has a purpose to accomplish through each trial. He didn’t just suddenly get bored and think, “Hmm, I’ll send Lauren a whopper of a stress-inducer today!” He has something He wants to teach me, something He wants to accomplish in me, and the only way He can do that is through a trial.

Here’s another cool part, though. Notice how Paul concludes here: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

WOW! So present your requests before God in this way, and He promises a peace that will guard my heart and mind, a peace that passes my understanding? Just, wow. What a promise!

And I felt it, too. I remember being with my mom in that stressful situation, and telling her that I felt peace, “but I don’t know why. But it’s there.”

It’s unexplainable. It transcends all understanding. And it’s a promise from God.

How amazing is our God!

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