The Practice of Prayer

Want to know something funny?  I have this article idea that uses Philippians 4:6-7 as its centerpiece.  In case you’re not familiar with it the passage goes, “Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7, NASB95) So here’s the funny part, I am stressing out over coming up with the perfect example to showcase this passage.  Times when someone practices something before it is needed like a Boy Scout practicing knots, or a sailor battening down a hatch in calm seas, or a soldier practicing rifle tear down and assembly long before they enter the battlefield. So here I am being anxious about how to write about being anxious for nothing.  Funny, huh?

Well anyway, here’s the point.  Like Boy Scouts, sailors, and soldiers we too need to practice something long before it’s needed – raising our daily concerns to God with thankfulness.  If we can learn to practice thankful prayer in the relative calm of today it will be second nature when we encounter the next storm of life that is coming our way.  Or to emphasize it another way: it’s a bit late learn how to tie a bowline after you’ve fallen down a ravine, it’s difficult to learn how to tightly secure a hatch when the waves are tall, it’s impossible to figure out how to clear a jammed rifle in a dark foxhole with bullets whizzing over your head.  Like those examples, practicing thanks filled prayer provides peace and confidence. Or as the verse says – “the peace of God…will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.  Sure there will be stress when the day of trouble arrives, but we won’t be frozen by the anxiety of figuring out what to do about it. So, how did I get over the stress of writing this article? Just a simple prayer thanking Jesus for the answer I hadn’t seen yet.

Dale Heinold
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