5. Prayer Sets Us on a Path to Peace
“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.” (Philippians 4:6,7)
Early in my marriage, my always-calm husband had the habit of telling me to “just chill out” about situations I was, well, hot about. Of course, this had the exact opposite effect on my mood and emotions, and so, being a wise man, he eventually eliminated this phrase from his marital vocabulary.
I’m so thankful God doesn’t tell us to “just chill out” in Philippians 4:6. He doesn’t drop “don’t be anxious about anything” into His great love letter and then move on to a new subject. Instead, He offers us an alternative to worry: prayer. We start from a position of anxiousness but do not camp out there. We continue down the road, moving next to prayer, which, along with a side trip of thankfulness, ultimately leads us to peace.
6. Prayer Unites Us as a Body
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:42-44)
When my little country congregation cried out to God a few years ago for the healing of one of our number, we were united by our belief in the power of prayer and by our love for our brother. God did not grant our request for his earthly healing, but praying for him still unified us in heart and in purpose. Through prayer, we went through that tragedy together. It is now part of our shared history, a bonding point we look back on.
The body of Christ has much to split it apart, and the enemy has gained ample ground in this area in recent years. Few things turn unbelievers away from the church door, like dissension behind that door, but maybe nothing draws them in like a unified family they find themselves wanting to be part of. Prayer can get the lost, the broken, the hurting in the door, and, once inside, it can keep them there.