“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” Phillipians 4:6-7
Don’t be anxious about anything?! Surely Paul, who wrote this a couple thousand years ago, is out of touch or is out of his mind. Surely he didn’t know about crises like this one we are going through now.
I’m certain Paul did know about a crisis like this one and far worse than this one when he wrote this. Sorry, you are not off the hook.
One of the best ways I know to not be anxious is to do what he says next, pray. But what does it mean by petition (or as other translations put it, supplication). But what in the world does it mean to “petition” God?! (and “supplication” is even more confusing!) Now, as I confessed before, I was not the best English student, so the first thing that comes to mind is getting people to sign a petition for a cause they are passionate about (sorry I do not have an example for supplication). I am a limited country boy stuck in the city so I am going to let Jesus explain the petition…
“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly…” – Jesus (Luke 18:1-7)
So now that we’ve covered petition, how do we get the peace of God? When you pray do you get the “peace of God which transcends all understanding”? Have you ever received this kind of peace that you can’t logically rationalize in your head but is supernatural? In my experience, the biggest problem is that we get in the way. Our prayers are usually confined to what we understand or what we have experienced. But the peace “that transcends all understanding” goes beyond what we can understand or maybe have experienced. So if we are to receive the peace “that passes all understanding” we have to believe that something supernatural can happen.
Spend some time in prayer. Petition God to help you with whatever you are struggling with. Repent of your need to understand everything and open yourself up to God’s supernatural ways. Maybe you need to “keep coming to him” with your plea.