Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6
This is one of the more difficult exhortations Paul passes on to us. We are tied to this world and we are continuously moving forward in the stream of time, not knowing what lies even one second ahead. Trials, troubles, and tribulations enter into our lives and we have no way of knowing how they will turn out. And yet, Paul asks us to “Be anxious for nothing.” Surely this takes great effort, and yet it is possible.
Anxiety is the state of fear of the unknown and how that unknown will affect us personally. But the Bible reveals that nothing is truly unknown. God has laid out time before us, but He is outside of time. He knows what is coming, and He has already given us the final words of Scripture to prove it. Because of this, and if we can truly hold on to this, we can act in accord with Paul’s words now.
Instead of being anxious, we are to come to God “in everything by prayer and supplication.” In the Greek, both words “prayer” and “supplication” have an article in front of them. Thus, both are distinct things, and yet they are inseparable. Prayer is a word more general in meaning. On the other hand, supplication is a specific petition. The two together should form the basis of all of our communication with the Lord. We are to pray our general thoughts, and we are to note specific items which are upon our heart through supplication.
And in addition to this, we are to do it “with thanksgiving.” Whereas the “prayer” and the “supplication” are in the singular, the word “thanksgiving” is in the plural. We are to open our mouths with “thanksgivings” to God, both for those things we have been given, and also for the opportunity to lay before Him those things which we hope for. It is in this way that we are to let our “requests be made known to God.” We are to lay our hearts out to Him and hold nothing back as if it is too small and trivial to pester him with, or too great to weary Him with. In all things, we are to so come before God.
Life application: If you struggle with anxiety, what should you do about that? Do exactly the same thing that you are instructed to do with all other things – bring it before God. Even the issue by which we are directed to make our prayers is something that we can pray about.
Heavenly Father, your word asks us to be anxious for nothing, but we are often unable to comply with that. And so in our times of anxiety, please provide us with the moral support we need, and help us to remember that even our anxieties are something we can pray to You about. When we face such times of stress about the unknown, give us reminders, showing us that You are here with us. You already know what lies ahead, and so help us to place our unknowns in Your capable hands. Amen.