Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.”
Talking points. We hear them on the news all the time. Surrogates of politicians saturate the media with carefully crafted statements in order to sway people to their point of view. They hope that by repeating the exact same words ad nauseam people will be convinced their information is true. Talking points rarely detour from the script and although they may give the appearance of dialogue, are about as far from true communication as polar bears in the Philippines.
Sometimes my prayers sound a lot like talking points. Please bless this day, Lord. Watch over my kids. Touch John’s body. Help Joanne get a job. Let the right officials be elected. Protect Christians who are being persecuted. Now there’s nothing wrong with presenting our lists before God, but if that’s the extent of our communication with him, we end up forfeiting both the intimacy and peace he offers.
The Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians about prayer bears little resemblance to talking points. He says we should bring any and every concern we have to God by prayer and petition…with thanksgiving. I’ve been working on it.
A woman recently told me how overwhelmed she felt due to her heavy responsibilities. She didn’t know how she could make it much longer. I asked if I could pray for her, but rather than plunging into my request on her behalf, I began thanking God for this dear woman. I thanked him for his faithfulness to her through the years, for specific incidents of answered prayer, for promises given in his Word, for her devotion to him…..The overflow of thankfulness evoked something else. Something I wasn’t quite expecting…
By the time I got to the asking part of my prayer, faith once overshadowed by concern began to surface. Thankfulness had stimulated faith. It peeled my eyes off the problem and focused them on the Solver. A rich deposit of assurance God would take care of the situation filled my Amen.
So how is your prayer life? Are you limiting your communication with God to mere talking points? I pray thanksgiving will accompany your petitions…thanksgiving that leads to faith…faith that leads to intimacy…intimacy that leads to the real thing.