They say that inner peace is illusive – that we are destined to wrestle with our demons and to be anxious in our thoughts. But God says differently. In Philippians 4, the Apostle Paul encourages his readers:
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. (Philippians 4:6-7)
It’s a familiar passage, but one I read afresh this morning in the midst of thinking about all the logistics of our move to Kenya, all the money to be raised and plans to be made. “Do not be anxious about anything…”
That’s a pretty tall order. Thankfully, Paul gives us the key to this lack of anxiousness. Prayer and petition, infused with thanksgiving, leads to the peace we seek. And when I think about those words, it makes sense. Bringing a request to God, while recognizing the many times and ways he has been faithful to me in the past, is a way of tying the past, present and future together. He has been faithful. He is faithful. Thus, he will be faithful.
Suddenly, the things that might beg for anxiety shrink in the light of God’s faithfulness. The overwhelming concerns of this world dissipate in the presence of the one who created the world and who has overcome it.
The key to peace, then, is found in this thanksgiving-laden prayer – bringing our requests before God while simultaneously thanking him for his faithfulness. The outcome of these prayers, Paul says, is “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” and that “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I’m in. Let’s do this thing!