Standing Firm In The Lord -Part 4

But when Jimmy got on stage, something interesting happened. He went through the short monologue and then stayed. The applause grew louder and louder and he kept staying. Pretty soon, he had been on fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes. Finally he took a last bow and left the stage. Backstage someone stopped him and said, “I thought you had to go after a few minutes. What happened? Jimmy answered, “I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed. You can see for yourself if you’ll look down on the front row.” In the front row were two men, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that’s exactly what they were doing, loudly and cheerfully.

(Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher, p. 104-105)

If we will only work together as team players we will be able to stand our ground and accomplish much more than we ever dreamed we could. And I believe that God, like Jimmy Durante, will be moved as He watches his less than perfect children partnering together to praise him.

4. Eliminate our anxieties through Prayer. (vv. 6-7)

Paul says that you should “not be anxious about anything” but that you should “present your requests to God.” The CEV words it this way: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.” And I really love the way the Message paraphrases it: “…let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers.”

I’m afraid that too many of us know too little about prayer. Sometimes it seems that we are like two men who were walking together. The first challenged the other, “If you are so religious, let’s hear you quote the Lord’s Prayer. I bet you $10.00 you can’t.” The second responded, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my should to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord by soul to take.” The first pulled out his wallet and fished out a ten dollar bill, muttering, “I didn’t think you could do it!”

Paul says that we are to come to God with our prayers and petitions. What is the difference? Prayer is more general than petitions and is based on God’s promises. It involves worship and devotion. We pray for forgiveness because it is promised to those who repent. A petition is a special request in time of need and appeals to God’s mercy. We petition God for the healing of an ill child. This petition is appeals to God’s mercy because such healing is not promised in the scriptures.

When we come to God with our prayers and petitions we are promised that His peace will guard our hearts and minds. The Greek word for ‘guard’ is a military term referring to a soldier standing on guard duty. If we will come to God in prayer during times of crises, we can be sure that His peace will protect our hearts and minds, our emotions and thoughts during the trial. This is vitally important because if Satan can control how you feel and what you think I guarantee that he will control how you act. We can only trust such control of our lives to God himself. As the CEV says, “And this peace will control the way you think and feel” (v.7b).

What do you think?

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