Oct 2, 2013

Do you want peace? Pray

“And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…”

Posted by: DavidW

I say those words, or something very like it, pretty much every Sunday. I didn’t make them up: you can find them in Philippians chapter 4, which contains some of the most famous verses in the Bible. But I was reading that chapter the other day, going over what I thought was familiar ground, when something odd happened to me – I noticed how the different famous verses fitted together. Sounds obvious. But God was opening my eyes to something new from his ancient words.

This is what I saw: peace goes with praying and right thinking. The peace doesn’t exist on its own. It comes out of a functioning relationship with God. It comes from talking to him (the verse before) and filling our minds with God and his goodness (the verse after).

Prayerlessness breeds prayerlessness. It’s not hard for me to spot when I’m not praying much, although it sometimes takes me a while to notice. Because at first it doesn’t feel like prayerlessness; it just feels like busyness. But soon, because I’m not praying, my mind is less filled with the goodness of God. And as my vision of God gets smaller, my vision of my problems gets bigger. So that pretty soon my worries become the only thing I’m praying about at all. And the peace has gone.

I’m not saying you should ignore your problems – real prayer always involves telling God how things really are – but as you pray those real prayers God will take your eyes off yourself and put them on bigger and better things.

We’ve got challenges as a church. We always will have. There are all kinds of problems in people’s lives, the challenge of fixing a building, the challenge of resources, and the much bigger challenge of bringing the good news of Jesus to a world that doesn’t believe that Jesus is good news. If we’re not praying, we’ll be very worried. We’ll only see the problems; we won’t see the glorious God who loves to give.

Do you want peace? Pray.