God's word in today's world

Pray, petition and say thank you

Philippians 4:1-9

At a school function I was talking to business man who had gone through hard times in the past year. Others had almost stolen his business from under him. He knows about hardship. He knows about people you have trusted with your whole life who kick you in the stomach. He knows about stress and trying to pick up the pieces and making right what the wolf in sheep’s clothing has destroyed.

As we chatted he told me how he had kept on holding onto the Word of God and without thinking twice he said: “Somewhere in Philippians 4 it says…” and I gave him the verse, because it is precisely what I’ve been studying the past few mornings: “Verse 6!” (For once I could remember where something was in the Bible!) And without hesitation the English version rolled from my tongue:  6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV)

From his experience, he explains, one should do more than simply pray. One should petition. Petition is a stronger term than pray – it’s the next level of praying. We must kneel before God and place each of the challenges in our way before Him. We must beg Him to help us. One by one we should place all of them before God.

You may well ask why we should petition God. Doesn’t He know everything about the challenges in our lives as well? Yes, that is so. God knows about our problems and challenges even before we do. However, this is not about God, but more about the effect it has on a person. In petitioning and unpacking everything before God, we change. It is only then that we really understand what our problems are. In the unpacking before God we understand what we should do and what God’s role is. We get perspective and realize that we have a heavenly Father who wants to help. And then we change.

Even in the hard times, like the present, we can thank God. Barnes (e-Sword) explained this thanksgiving prayer so beautifully:

Thanksgiving connected with prayer. We can always find something to be thankful for, no matter what may be the burden of our wants, or the special subject of our petitions. When we pray for the supply of our wants, we may be thankful for that kind providence which has hitherto befriended us;

  • When we pray for restoration from sickness, we may be thankful for the health we have hitherto enjoyed, and for God’s merciful interposition in the former days of trial, and for his goodness in now sparing our lives;
  • When we pray that our children and friends may be preserved from danger and death, we may remember how often God has interposed to save them;
  • When oppressed with a sense of sin, we pray for pardon, we have abundant cause of thanksgiving that there is a glorious way by which we may be saved.

The greatest sufferer that lives in this world of redeeming love, and who has the offer of heaven before him, has cause of gratitude.

In this process of praying and petitioning and thanksgiving a person changes. Believe it! Peace fills your mind. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Do it! Try doing it! And wait for God…


What are you worried about?

Are you talking to God?

What is the possible that you can do?


Father, You are a Dad who really cares for your children. You want us to share our worries and lives with You so that we can experience how faithful You are. Thank you that we can experience peace when we make You part of our lives. Amen.

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