Our Prayers & Thoughts
Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Philippians
Philippians 4:1-10 (ESV)
1 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. 3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.
Theologically informed prayer (v6) is needed to continue in the way of life Jesus calls you to (vv1-2, 5).
the “peace of God” (v7) and the “God of peace” (v9)
v5 “the Lord is at hand”
v6 “but in everything by prayer and supplication”
v7 “which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds…”
v8 “think about these things” – “with thanksgiving” (v6)
v9 “practice these things” – “rejoice” (v4)
Questions for Reflection
What is prayer for? How does prayer work? Why pray?
Do you think that belief in a personal benevolent God is an essential understanding/commitment every person needs to have? Can one live a full life without this?
What does the phrase “God of peace” tell us about God? What does this mean? How is it true? How do we know?
Why is it hard to trust God when life isn’t going as we hope, desire, or expect?
What does it look like to commit something to God in prayer and not worry about it?
How should you navigate situations where you don’t understand what is happening? What principles should shape your attitude, guide your choices, etc. when your understanding is insufficient?
What about Jesus (who he is, what he has done) is: true; honorable; just; pure; lovely; commendable; excellent; worthy of praise? How do any of these things relate to you and your life?
Are you able to focus your mind on particular things, or does your mind go off on its own? How can you discipline your thoughts so that they are predominantly on what is good, honorable, just, etc.? How can you make “thanksgiving” a more regular part of your day?
How does intentionality in living faithfully instill a confidence that the God of peace is with you? How do you have this confidence when you have failed, or when things aren’t going well, or when you are confused? What do we know about Jesus that uniquely readies and enables us to have the God of peace with us at all times?
Prayer of Confession
Generous and loving Father, we look to you for help in all things. We admit, however, that we fail to do this daily in the details of our lives. We live as though you are not there, you are not good, or that you cannot be trusted. Without knowing it, we often assume we know better than you. Yet you have offered us peace when we didn’t seek it, and you have provided forgiveness when we didn’t deserve it. You have also filled our lives with more good than we are typically aware of. Forgive our ingratitude. Forgive our misplaced hopes. Forgive our lack of faith. Give us this peace that surpasses all we understand. Amen.