Text: Philippians 4:6

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Phil. 4:6)

There are many things that can make us anxious. The burdens of home. The burdens of
work. The burdens of service in church. The recent challenges posed by the COVID-19
pandemic certainly complicate matters. If we are not careful to guard our hearts, we can
be easily taken in by our worries and be overcome by fear.

It is natural for man to worry. Man is a finite creature, and is thus limited in what we can
do. When we find that matters have gone beyond our control and comprehension, we
begin to fret and fear. This is the way of one who does not know God.

However, it is different for the Christian. As children of the most High God, we are never
alone. Our Heavenly Father cares for His children and showers us with His love.
Moreover, as the one living and true God, there is nothing that is impossible with Him.
He is ever faithful to His promises. Thus, there is no reason for a Christian to be anxious
over anything.

Why then do we fret so easily? It is because we often lose sight of the goodness and
greatness of our Lord, and attempt to do things by our own strength. In our foolish pride,
we fail to trust in the Lord and thus, bring sorrow to ourselves when we realise that all
things are in vain without the Lord. The result is a loss of the experience of peace and joy
in our walk with the Lord.

The balm for the anxious soul is God’s Word and prayer. The text today emphasises on
the latter. Since God is our loving Father, the antidote to our vain fretting is to pour out
our heart to the Lord before His throne of grace. A Christian who fervently and urgently
presents his requests to God will never be disappointed.

We must also be mindful of how we approach God in our prayers. The term prosuchē
points to a reverential address of God. The next term “supplication” points to a humble
plea for help. When we go to the Lord for help, it is never with the attitude of a master
demanding a servant to accomplish his task. We must realise that God is far higher than
us, and it is only by His grace and mercy that we have our existence. A snorty attitude
will never suffice before the Lord.

This leads us to the next point – that our prayers must always be made with a thankful
heart. While we submit our complains to God, we must never complain against God.
Recall the previous weekly article on the example of Job. He understood that the Lord
had blessed him with much in the past. The Lord as the gracious Master surely has the
right to take away what He has given us. Moreover, even if the Lord takes something
away from us, it is always for the good of His child. The will of the Lord for His children
is always the best (c.f. 1 Thess 5:18). Thus, Job was able to exclaim, “the LORD gave,
and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21b) A
thankful heart is a submissive heart.

There is one last question to answer – “if God is omniscient (i.e. He is all- knowing and
thus cannot gain or lose knowledge) , why is it necessary to make my requests known
to Him? Surely He already knows what I need and thus rendering it unnecessary for me
to pray.” The answer – Indeed God knows our every needs. The reason why we need to
pray is for our own benefit. When we pray, we exercise our faith and trust in Him, and
to recall His goodness which we so readily forget. When we remember the Lord, our
hearts will be kept in Christ Jesus and remain sober in the time of storm. Thus, we
should be ever more eager to seek the Lord in prayer in every circumstance of life.

It was my privilege in recent weeks to witness Philippians 4:6-7, in action in the lives
of brethren. These brethren had requested prayer in their times of trouble. After we
prayed together, I observed that the countenance and tone of the person was much
improved. There was much anxiety before prayer. However, after prayer, there is much
peace and a quiet confidence that the Lord was in control. The Lord is good to all of
His children.

May the Lord grant you His peace in every circumstance of life. Do not forget to pray.
It is the balm for the anxious soul.