Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:1-9
Last week, Diane and I watched the funeral of a dear friend, a pastor who preached his own funeral sermon. He had recorded it shortly before he died after a six-year battle with cancer. This week we watched the funeral of a young pastor who died very unexpectedly. They both left behind two children. Today we learned that a long-time member of St. John died. She is singing the praises of Jesus with the hosts of heaven (along with my two pastor friends). She has no more need for prayer. There are no more worries to cloud her vision. But our lives continue. And sometimes pesky little issues trouble us. Sometimes big challenges confront us.
But we have a blank check prayer offer here in these words: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Consider these four corners of this blank check
- Anything: Don’t let anything cause your anxiety. That’s a pretty big order. After all there’s COVID-19, medical tests, job situations, unemployment realities, racial tensions, stresses at home and at work – to name just a few. None of these need cause us anxiety. God can handle it; no matter how big “it” is.
- Everything: Perhaps you have a little niggling issue – spiritual or literal hangnail of life. It’s bugging you. It seems so trivial. But it won’t let you go. You might be tempted not to turn to God about it. But here’s that word: in everything let your requests be known to God. Everything. Nothing’s too petty for God to care. He is never put off by our trivial concerns. He may help us grow. He may help us become more patient. He also may just fix it. In any case, let the little things make their way into the throneroom of God’s grace!
- Prayer and Supplication: Few of us would ever tell someone that they should spend energy worrying. “Just worry about it,” said no one ever. We can pray. We can ask God to supply our needs. We can call upon him. We can ask. We can petition. We can call out to God for things big or small.
- With Thanksgiving: This may be the rub. It’s difficult to “thank God for the fleas” as Betsy Ten Boom told Corey to do. We thank God in the midst of our prayers and supplications because we know he will answer our prayers. We thank him because we have the opportunity to call on him. We thank God because he has so richly blessed us. We thank God because he commands us to do so.
There are a thousand things that cry out for our attention or unleash the cords of anxiety upon us. We can pray. About anything. God can deal with everything. We pray with thanksgiving for the ultimate victory that is ours through our Lord Jesus Christ.