Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
Philippians 4:4-7, NIV*
Sometimes intercession feels like a burden instead of a privilege. Maybe the needs start to look bigger than God, or we don’t see Him responding, or His answer doesn’t match our plans.
It happens to me every so often. A few weeks back, I had some heavy-duty prayer requests on my heart. Mindful of the persistent widow, I repeatedly brought them to the Lord “with prayer and petition” but I guess instead of “presenting” them to Him I kept a tight hold.
Reading these verses this week, I see the problem. I’d forgotten the “God is near” part, the “thanksgiving” part. I kept trusting Him in the dark, but there was no peace.
Father, thank You that we can bring everything to You, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the One who cares for us. Thank You that You are near, and that we can trust You. Thank You for what You will do in and through us, and that we can count on You – not to do what we want, but to work what is best. And oh, I thank You that as we give our burdens to You in confidence, You promise Your peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ.
Our song this week is the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” lyrics by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855, melody by Charles C. Converse, 1868, performed in the 21st century by Paul Baloche.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
I love that verse. But I had not noticed “the Lord is near part” before. I have memorized it, but always started with “Do not be anxious…” That’s awesome that that is in there! Because it really means a lot to me that God is near to me, that He is close.
And I have forgotten the “with thanksgiving” part too! My sister actually pointed this out this past weekend. And another blogger wrote about being thankful for the little things, even while things are hard. Isn’t that amazing how God can speak through several people and say all the same thing to teach us? I am always in awe when He does that! 🙂
Thanks for letting Him speak through you! Blessings! Jenny
After this post went up this week, I went to Bible study and one of the other women had this verse on her mind too.
God is so neat the way He communicates with us.
I’m praying we’ll know more and more that He is near, that we’ll feel it in our hearts instead of just knowing it in our heads.