It is written that you should be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God [Phil 4:6]. Sometimes you have challenges in life, and the only relief comes through prayer. Sometimes pressure can cause anxiety. What should you do in those situations? Pray. There are three aspects aspects of prayer: (1) praying, (2) supplication, and (3) thanksgiving. That's three aspects. But there's one more.
1 Tim 2:1 says, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." This verse has all three aspects of praying, and one additional aspect, a fourth, intersessions (or prayer on behalf of others). That's four (4) aspects of praying. Let's learn about them.
The word “prayer” in Phil 4:6 is translated from the Greek word “proseuch,” which means speaking out to God coupled with personal devotion. Prayer specifically addressed to God. It emphasizes who you’re talking to, rather than what you’re actually saying.
And God’s peace shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things--fix your minds on them. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you.
Prayer replaces doubt, worry and fear with the peace of God.
It's written [Mark 1:35] that in the morning, long before daylight, Jesus would get up and go out to a deserted place, and there, pray. Jesus Christ had a great prayer life. He trusted in God. He spoke to God. He was devoted to God. And, he trusted in God by praying. As he prayed, God gave him direction and peace. He prayed every day. And, he did an incredible amount of wonderful things.
The apostles steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread and prayers. And a sense of awe (reverential respect) came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were performed through the apostles. The apostles prayed, continued steadfastly, persevered with unrelenting persistence. These apostles invited God in their everyday lives by praying and trusting in God. In our bible study groups, our bible fellowships, we pray. My family prays before a trip. My family prays before breaking bread, before having a meal together. We pray when we’re in need. It's an every day thing, just like Jesus Christ, just like the apostles.
In Phil 4:6, the word supplication is the Greek word “deh'-ay-sis,” means to ask God’s aid in a particular matter which has arisen out of a personal need. When we personally have a need, we trust in God and we pray with thanksgiving.
In Phil 1:5, Paul is praying, "I thank my God for your fellowship (your sympathetic cooperation and contributions and partnership) in advancing the good news (the Gospel) from the first day you heard it until now. Paul is praying, “deh'-ay-sis,” to God for the believers in Philippi. Paul has a deep personal need for a fellowship (relationship) with the apostles. Paul prayed that the believers continue to have a wonderful fellowship together. Deep personal need. Praying with a specific need is like having a full release near the heart of God. There’s nothing more powerful a person can do than pray.
Our greatest personal need is also to have God’s word to live in our life. Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your needs) and pray also for one another, that you may be healed and restored to a spiritual tone of mind and heart. The earnest, heartfelt, continued prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [James 5:16]. There’s no human act that comes close to the power that occurs when we trust in God by praying.
In Phil 4:6, the word “thanksgiving” is the Greek word “eucaristia,” which means to be thankful in our prayers to God. And, it is the giving of thanks for blessings. It's a conversation marked by the gentle cheerfulness of a grateful heart. Your attitude of gratitude. Before every meal, we pray. We are very thankful for the blessings we have received, will receive, and for the food. When Dad cooks, sometimes we’re just thankful for the forks.
Let's see what praying is not. In Mat 6:5, we have men praying, and wanting to be seen by others. It is written, "Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already." They thought that the length and demonstration of their prayers showed devotion. They wanted to pray before men. In Mat 6:6, it's written, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." In Biblical times, the closet represented a place where great personal treasures were kept. But the beauty of prayer is that you can pour your heart out to God anytime, at any situation. Some pray before men. We pray before God.
In 1 Tim 2:1, the word “intercessions” is the Greek word "enteuxij," and means having a prayer with confidence, care and concern for needs of others. We can pray for others. There’s power in prayer for others. We can pray with the spirit for others. Spirit knows no distance, so when we pray, we could pray for anyone, anywhere.
So, who are we praying to?
Who is God? What is he?
Is God an old man with a gray beard. No.
Is God a man? No.
Is God Jesus? No.
The bible says what God is in John 4:24. It is written that God is a Spirit. God is spirit. A universal, omnipresent spirit. And, therefore, God is everywhere. God is always there, and he "hears" our prayers.
In Eph 3:20, we see that God answers prayers in such wonderful ways. Now to God, who, by the action of the power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams. Trust in God by praying. God answers our prayers. We should expect very powerful results.
When we pray, we focus on God and his unlimited supply of his power. We set our specific requests. We pray for ourselves and for others, with thanksgiving, at anytime, from anywhere. And, we trust God will provide above and beyond what we can imagine.
You might be interested in reading "Spirit is a Force" and "Empirical Approach to God" from The King's Guide.
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