I remember singing this old hymn (What a Friend We Have in Jesus) when I was growing up:
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.
As a kid, I didn’t think very much about the words. Now I think about them a lot. They make a huge claim. But are they true? Or are they just naive, simplistic Christian cliché? Do they hold up under the real world weight of complex pain we suffer in the varied afflictions we endure? As it turns out – the Biblical speaks into this truth:
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)
God’s amazing promise to us through Paul is the power behind the hymn’s words. And the promise really is amazing! God is promising us peace in everything and freedom from controlling anxiety! Peace is ours for the taking. So if we don’t have the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds, it’s all because we do not . . . do something God calls us to do.
The wonderful thing is that what God calls us to do is easy! He’s calling us to pray. And what is prayer? Prayer is asking our generous heavenly Father for whatever it is we wish (Luke 11:13; John 15:7), trusting that He will answer with whatever we need (Luke 11:10; Philippians 4:19). It is casting our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Jesus came to give us peace. He said, “My peace I give to you.” (John 14:27) It’s ours for the taking. All we need to do is ask in faith in everything. And the faith-key that unlocks the peace that surpasses understanding is seeing Him as the Faithful One and resting in His ability to do what He has promised. It is an easy yoke. Let’s not forfeit this peace and bear needless pain. Let us carry everything to God in prayer and trust Him fully to provide everything we need. (Philippians 4:19)
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