Prayer and Supplication

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

This famous passage has several qualifying factors in the command. The very first qualifier is that we are to be "careful for nothing." The Greek phrase, meden merimnate, could well be translated "let no man make you worried." This phrase, it should be noted, is a command, not a suggestion.

If we are to enjoy the peace of God promised by our Lord as a result of our requests, we must first understand that our prayers and supplications are presented before the Lord's throne without taking thought (Matthew 6:24-25) about how we might solve the problems. That great liberty to present our requests to the Lord, however, does not in any way negate our responsibility to "work out |our| own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

Prayer takes many forms, from the lofty intercession for national leaders (1Timothy 2:1-2) to the unprejudiced pleading on the behalf of another (Job 42:10). The Lord Himself "made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12) "and wondered that there was no intercessor" (Isaiah 59:16). Surely we can be faithful with this great access to the sovereign power of eternity.

Yet how often do we fail with mere personal requests and supplications? Even the "blessing" that most of us offer at meal times is recognized in Scripture as an appropriate "prayer" and "thanksgiving" to the Supplier of all things (1 Timothy 4:4-5). How much more important, then, is our legitimate cry for help as we face the challenges of ministry and spiritual warfare? Knowing that our "warfare" is not a "carnal" one (2 Corinthians 10:4), we should be even more diligent in "praying always with all prayer and supplication" (Ephesians 6:18). HMM III

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