Dwell On These Things [Philippians 4]
4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
10But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity.
11Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. 14Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.
At last, the answer of how I can have peace - don't be anxious, pray instead. For most of my Christian life that is what I tried to do. The problem was the more I prayed, it seemed the more anxious I would become. My interpretation of the verses above was this: Don't worry. But if you do worry then take your requests to God. So my prayer was often something like this, "Lord. I am worried about my daughter. Would You please give her some Christian friends? I am fearful that she is being sucked into the ways of the world. I am afraid that she will go down the path of pain and destruction. Would You please put someone in her life that will lead her to You?" My thoughts were not
dwelling on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent or worthy of praise and it was not peace I was experiencing.
What was I missing? I was missing the key ingredients from this passage:
- Rejoice in the Lord always
- the Lord is near
- in everything through prayer (not just when I am worried)
- Prayer includes the idea of worship
- let your request be made with thanksgiving (they were to be sandwiched between praise and thanksgiving
- finally, dwell on the things about God that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent or worthy of praise
- I am able to this through Him that strengthens me
With these ingredients, my prayer will be very different:
Lord, I worship You because You love my child with Your everlasting love. You are at work in her life. Thank You that You know how to draw her to Yourself. You are true. You are right in what You do in her life. You are pure and You are able to strengthen her in Your pureness. You are excellent in Your work in her. You are working according to Your good pleasure. You alone are worthy of praise. Thank You for Your peace that guards my mind and heart in Christ Jesus.