Diligence in Prayer Brings Peace
by Rob Jensen
Prayer is a privilege that believers have to converse with God and He commands us to come to Him with our requests. Not because it is just another work He requires from us, but it is for our good, and benefits us while here on earth.
In the previous articles on prayer we have seen various aspects of prayer. Devotion to prayer, who we pray for, and the effectiveness of prayer. This article is on the peace that comes from this privilege and a primary passage on this topic is Philippians 4:6-7:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This passage starts out with the phrase “Be anxious for nothing.” “Anxious” means being pulled in different directions, strangled, being worried about things.
For a believer we must be watchful of this area of sin and its impact on our lives. Peter touches on this same concept in I Peter 5:7 where he says to be “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” The God who controls the universe cares about every aspect of our lives – there is no reason for us to worry.
The solution to worry is to pray for the things that are causing us to worry. The word “prayer” in Philippians 4:6, is the general word for making requests to the Lord and carries the idea of devotion or worship.
When we begin in prayer our first focus shouldn’t be on ourselves and our problems. Our focus should be on God and who He is. We should be focused on His sovereignty, His power, and His knowledge. When we begin by acknowledging who He is and what He can do, it makes all our requests, needs, and problems more manageable.
The second word for prayer in verse 6, “supplication,” carries the idea of sharing earnestly with the Lord our needs and problems. Paul uses this same idea as he writes in Romans 15:30, “Strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.” The word “strive” alludes to the spiritual energy needed in making our needs to the Lord known.
The third aspect to consider in prayer is “thanksgiving.” We must always remember what God has done for us in bringing us salvation and a settled hope for the future, and approach Him with hearts filled with thankfulness.
If we have worked through these steps we should be reminded of who we are addressing. We can’t demand our requests and be combative in our prayers to the Lord, we need to realize that God has it all under control. Even in difficult times we can “Count it all joy” (James 1:2). Romans 8:28 also reminds us that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.”
So is it any wonder that as verse 7 in Philippians 4 continues:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When we have the right worship, right attitude, and right focus in our prayers, we can have a supernatural peace to get us through any trial. That “peace” began at salvation and our acknowledgement of our sin and need of a Savior. In Romans 5:1 we are told:
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
That peace grows and strengthens as we continue in our walk with the Lord. The effects of this peace will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Our hearts are many times seen as the seat of our emotions in Scripture. God’s peace helps us to keep our emotions in check in difficult times. But, it doesn’t stop there, it also guards “our minds” in how and what we think!
Do we have anxiety? How are we approaching our prayers? Is it with humility and thankfulness? In these verses we see another small step in our progress of praying for the purpose of attaining His peace.