In Philippians 4:6, Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” As I meditated on this passage, I saw something I hadn’t seen before.
Paul says “Be anxious for nothing…” In today’s English that means “DON’T WORRY!" I don’t care what things look like in your life, don’t worry about it! I come from a family of champion worriers. Had there been a category in the Olympics for worry, I’m sure there would have been some gold medals awarded in my family! Jesus defined worry in Matthew 6:31, “Therefore do not worry, SAYING, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” We worry by SAYING what we are facing.
Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing (don’t worry), but in everything by prayer and supplication…” Instead of speaking the circumstances or situations you are facing, and giving your opinion about them, you need to learn to pray about it! I remember many years ago someone taught me that prayer is conversation with God. God doesn’t want you talking about your situations or circumstances with anyone else but Him! Paul says, “In everything”…and everything includes everything! Nothing is to be excluded. Talk to God about every situation and circumstance – but DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!
Then, Paul says that we are to pray “with thanksgiving.” When I was meditating on this passage, this part really stuck out to me. “…with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God…” When most people pray, there is no thanksgiving involved! They voice their concerns in prayer, but not with thanksgiving that the answer belongs to them, but still in worry because they are not sure what God’s will is regarding their circumstance or if God will answer their request. God says that in everything with thanksgiving we are to make our petition to Him. Why thanksgiving? We can pray with thanksgiving because of the finished work of the Cross.
I John 5:14-15 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” God’s Word and His will are the same! So whatever circumstance or situation we face, we can pray with confidence that God will hear and answer our petition. Why? Because of the finished work of Jesus at Calvary. 1 Peter 1:3 says, “…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him…” If God’s divine power HAS GIVEN ALL THINGS, there is NOTHING that HAS NOT ALREADY BEEN GIVEN! Jesus provided through His sacrifice all things!
This morning, Donna and I read two passages of scripture regarding two miracles of Jesus. The first one we read is in John 11, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When Jesus approached the tomb, He prayed: “…Father, I thank you that you have heard me.” Another miracle of Jesus was the feeding of the five thousand. When the disciples brought to Him the five loaves and two fish, the Bible says in verse 11, “…and when He had given thanks…” In both situations, the need was evident. Lazarus was dead four days! But Jesus did not bring His request to the Father in worry or fear, but with thanksgiving! There were five thousand men hungry – and Jesus only had enough meal for one person! But He began the distribution of food with thanksgiving!
Why do we give thanks in prayer? Because we have confidence before God that when we come to Him in prayer, He hears us and gives us the desires we have of Him. Whatever you are facing today, whatever circumstance or situation, you can come before God in prayer with your petition with thanksgiving because you know that Jesus has provided it all for you already! It is already done!