Standing Unshaken in a Shaken World
- Sally Burke, Cyndie Claypool de Neve
- 2017 26 Apr
Experiencing the Power and Peace of a Life of Prayer
We live in a shaken world. The news screams about terrorist attacks, bombings, missing children, horrific devastations. For many, the fear and anxiety can be immobilizing. Yet, the Bible tells us, “do not be anxious about anything.”
Is that even possible?
The full passage in Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) gives us the recipe for a great exchange: handing over our worry and anxiety in exchange for the peace of Christ.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How can we live out this principle of handing God our worries and letting him replace it with His inexplicable peace? At Moms in Prayer International (MIPI) we teach women to give God our fears, concerns and worries by praying through the four steps of prayer: praise, confession, thanksgiving and intercession. Women in more than 140 countries are praying together in MIPI groups. Over and over again, we hear how this focused prayer time can truly chase out fear and replace it with God’s inexplicable peace and joy—even in the face of great danger for themselves and their families.
As we share in our new book, “Unshaken: Experience the Power and Peace of a Life of Prayer,” one day at MIPI headquarters, we received a call from a surprisingly calm group leader half-way across the globe. With amazing peace and confidence in Christ, she explained that ISIS was invading her community, and her family was leaving their home to migrate to a safer location. With chaos and devastation swirling around her, this mom clung relentlessly to the truths she learned through the four steps of prayer. She knew without question that God would guide her and her family. She trusted in His great love and purpose so much so that when evil surrounded her, she was not shaken.
Can you imagine the fear that could have gripped her heart? Yet she stood confident in Christ’s power to overcome. We may never face something as terrifying as ISIS, yet every day provides opportunities to remember to stand firm in Christ.
How can we be unshaken despite the ruckus waves that try to knock us down? By keeping our eyes on the Lord, as it says in Psalm 16:8 (NIV). "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
That’s why the first step of prayer is praise. It pries our eyes off our problems and onto the ultimate Problem-solver, the One who is more than capable of handling any situation. Only when we look at the big picture are we able to see how God might be using our difficult situation to shape us, direct us, and impact others for Him. Sometimes we cling to our anxiety so strongly, but when we start with praise, by the time we get to confession we’re usually ready to release the sin of worry to God and let Him fill us with His peace.
Shifting our focus from ourselves to our Creator is powerful on its own, yet the second prayer step of confession can be life-transforming and freeing. When we invite the Lord to search our hearts and repent of our daily sins, we can more clearly hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit and be able to pray Spirit-directed prayers.
The third step, thanksgiving, can change our whole demeanor. When we stop thinking of all the things annoying us and start thanking God for the many blessings He’s given us to be thankful for, then our attitude will change dramatically.
After we have praised, confessed, and thanked, then our hearts are ready to intercede for others, asking God to intervene in their lives, both specifically and scripturally. There is power in one accord, agreement prayer with another believer. Matthew 18:20 (NASB) says, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” However, that doesn’t mean we can only pray through the four steps when we’re with others. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) tells us to “pray continually.”
We need to pray with others, but we must also keep a continual conversation open with the Lord. When we receive a stressful text from a relative, or a dreaded call from the bank, or rumors of layoffs are being whispered around the office, we can immediately go to prayer. Here’s an example: “Lord, I praise You that You love me and that You are trustworthy. Lord, forgive me for the anxiety that’s starting to take over my heart. Thank You that You promise to work all things together for good and that you can replace my anxiety with Your unimaginable peace. Lord work through every piece of this situation in a way that You will be glorified. And, Lord, every time I go to fear, help me, as it says in Psalm 16:8, to keep my eyes always on You, Lord. Because with You at my right hand, I will not be shaken. In Your Powerful Name, Amen.”
Praying scriptures, as illustrated above, is a powerful wayto pray God’s will. What is causing you stress today? Take time for praise, confession, thanksgiving and intercession, and choose a couple verses below to pray God’s will into the lives of those in the stressful situation.
Jesus, I pray _____ will believe in You.
From John 14:1 (niv)
When anxiety is great within _______, may Your consolation bring him/her joy.
From Psalm 94:19 (niv)
I pray _____ will live in harmony with others.
From Romans 12:16 (niv)
Give _____ more and more grace and peace as he/she grows in the knowledge of You and Jesus our Lord.
From 2 Peter 1:2 (nlt)
God, I pray _____ will give all his/her worries to You because You care for him/her.
From Deuteronomy 30:14 (niv)
I pray _____ will not let kindness and truth leave him/her.
May _____ bind them around his/her neck and write them upon his/her heart.
From Proverbs 3:3 (nasb)
Help _________ sing of Your great love forever; may he/ she make your faithfulness known through all generations.
From Psalm 89:1 (niv)
Sally Burke, the president of Moms in Prayer International, and Cyndie Claypool de Neve are the authors of “Unshaken: Experience the Power and Peace of a Life of Prayer,” and the innovative companion study guide. To find out more about Moms in Prayer International, visit www.MomsInPrayer.org.
Image courtesy: Pexels.com
Publication date: April 26, 2017