Philippians 4:6,7

 

 

A bus driver and a minister were standing in line to get into heaven. The bus driver approached the gate and St. Peter said, “Welcome, I understand you were a bus driver. Since I’m in charge of housing, I believe I have found the perfect place for you. See that mansion over the hilltop? It’s yours.

The minister heard all this and began to stand a little taller. He said to himself, “If a bus driver got a place like that, just think what I’ll get.”

The minister approached the gate and St. Peter said, “Welcome, I understand you were a minister. See that shack in the valley?”

St. Peter had hardly gotten the words out of his mouth when the shocked minister said, “I was a minister, I preached the gospel, I helped teach people about God. Why does that bus driver get a mansion, and I get a shack?”

Sadly St. Peter responded, “Well, it seems when you preached, people slept. When the bus driver drove, people prayed.”

 

Do you pray? (I am not going to ask if you sleep during my sermons.) Are your prayers a wish list or a list of requests?  Do you say prayers that praise God for who He is and what He has done?  How do you pray?

 

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

The first thing in this passage is stop worrying – don’t be anxious, have peace. Paul tells us how to achieve that peace.  Do you want the peace of God, do you want to stop worrying?

We know Jesus commanded us not to worry but to many Christians worry anyway.

 

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

 

Are you more valuable than the birds of the air to God? Yes!

 

Cartoon – bird lying down on therapy couch and the counselor says, “So, what’s on your mind, Mr. Sparrow?” the bird says, “I have this constant feeling someone has His eye on me.”

 

God has He watchful, loving eye on you too. Do you really believe that even on a bad day?

God will take care of us, He will meet our needs.

But like a spoiled kid we want more, we never have enough.

We need to learn contentment (Philippians 4:11).

 

We don’t have anything to worry about because God is taking care of us. Our problem is we get focused on the wrong things.

What is really important?  What are your priorities?  What is important, the things of this life or the things of Heaven?

Jesus says don’t worry but what is the antidote to worry?

Jesus’ solution is in verse 33.

 

Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

 

Seeking God’s kingdom will give you peace no matter what comes. You may say that doesn’t make sense; that is right, it transcends all understanding.

 

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Philippi was a city protected by a Roman garrison, the Christians would be familiar with Romans soldiers standing guard everywhere. (Like us going to the airport – TSA agents guarding the gates of the airport.)

 

God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds. God’s peace will not allow anxiety or worry into our heart.  We don’t have to be emotional with worry or intellectual with worry.  We are protected by the peace of God.  How?

 

What can we do so we don’t worry, so we aren’t anxious about life’s issues?

(Like who will win the Super Bowl tonight)

Or minor issues like the safety of your children and grandchildren; your job or retirement or your health.

 

Jesus said seek His Kingdom.

Paul says pray – that is one way to seek God’s Kingdom.

 

Matthew 6:9  “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Prayer is a way for us to align our will with God’s – we seek Him and His will and find His Kingdom.

 

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

 

We don’t have peace because we don’t present our requests to God according to His will (we talked about that last week). We worry because we don’t trust God to bring forth His will.  We get angry at God because He doesn’t do what we want.  We don’t pray because we don’t think He will listen.  We don’t have peace and we won’t have peace until we rely on Him, trust Him, give our concerns to Him in prayer and let His will be done.

 

Paul says in everything pray. To the Thessalonians he said, “Pray continually.”

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always; 17  pray continually; 18  give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Prayer is how we find joy, prayer is how we find peace. Prayer is the answer.

We petition God for people and situation but we also give thanks for who He is and what He has done.

 

We don’t have peace and joy in life because we forget that God is in control or that we focus on the negatives and hardships and forget the blessings God has given.

 

We have many blessings that we take for granted.  When we are rejoicing and praising God in our prayers as we are commanded it will be very hard to be angry at God (we talked about that last week).

 

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

When we do pray we are good at asking for stuff but maybe not so good and praising and thanking God.

Let me give you an acronym that can help – ACTS

Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

 

Adoration – The A stands for adoration, which means worship—glorying and exalting God. This could be a song of praise to Him, praying a psalm of worship, declaring His attributes.  Go through the alphabet and praise Him – Awesome, Assurance, Beautiful, Blessed, Caring, Creator, Divine, External, Forgiving, etc.

 

(Handout and on church app Praise God Daily program)

 

Confession – The C stands for confession. The word confess means “to agree with.” When we confess our sins, we agree with God that we are wrong and that we have sinned against Him by what we have said, thought, or done.

 

Thanksgiving – The T stands for thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is different from adoration – adoration focuses on praise God for who He is – Thanksgiving focuses on what God has done for us.

Thank Him for His love, the salvation He has given, for protection, for our daily provisions, etc.

 

Supplication – The S stands for supplication, praying for our needs and others’ needs.

 

On the back side of the handout is Don DeWelts 12 points Sweet Hour of Prayer. If you spend 5 minutes in each section you will be able to pray for an hour.

Praise for God, Praise to God, Confession, Sing a Prayer, Read a Prayer, Read the Word, Thanksgiving, Requests, Intercession, Meditation, Listening, Praise God in Song

(The other handout lists prayers in the Bible – Learn how to pray by praying similar prayers that God’s people prayed.)

 

Read how Jesus taught His disciples to pray.

Matthew 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10  your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11  Give us today our daily bread. 12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

 

This model prayer teaches us to pray:

Pray to our Father, acknowledge Him – “Our Father in heaven”

Praise God for who He is, praise Him that He is Holy – “hallowed be your name”

Pray that His will is accomplished – “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

Pray for your physical needs – “Give us today our daily bread”

Pray for your spiritual needs – “Forgive us our debts”

Pray for your relationships – “as we also have forgiven our debtors”

Pray for spiritual growth, for wisdom and guidance – “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one”

 

Relationships are built on communication. If you never talk to your spouse or your friends your relationship will fall apart.  How did you become friends with your friends?  You talked and you listened.

What I am saying is talk to God build a relationship with God and listen to Him by reading His word.

 

What happens when your friend does all the talking and never listens to you? You probably won’t stay friends very long – no one wants such a one-sided relationship.  God doesn’t either.

What happens when your friend is always asking for your help, or money or _____.  You probably don’t like that either.  God doesn’t either.

God created us as relational beings, He created us in His image.  We are relational based on Him.  Let’s learn how to communicate with Him and build our relationship.  Let’s not be one-sided.

As we learn to pray, talk with our loving Heavenly Father we will be able to rest in His peace and joy.

 

If you want the peace and joy that Jesus offers then Christian grow in your relationship with Him. It is sweet to trust in Him.

If you have never committed your life to Him – Know He loves you, He sent Jesus to die on the cross to save you from your sins, He wants to spend time with you now and forever in Heaven.

Will you repent of your sins?

Will you be immersed into Him?

 

Come and trust Him with your life – He will guard your heart and mind so you won’t be anxious.