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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 4:6-7 (NIV)
Think about who you first go to when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Perhaps you think of your mom or dad, your spouse, your sibling, or a close friend. There is something so comforting in both hearing the voice of a trusted family member or friend and knowing they are truly listening to you. In the same way we so quickly call or text whoever that person is, God wants us to firstly call on Him in prayer! In today’s Scripture, Paul encourages the Philippian church to come to God in prayer with all of their anxieties and requests because only then will His peace enter and guard their hearts and minds.
Prayer is powerful because it directly connects us to the Father! Before Jesus redeemed us through His defeat of death, prayer was still a significant component of the Hebrew life. However, when Jesus entered the scene, prayer changed because the relationship status between humans and God changed. Although we certainly are still sinners standing before a holy and righteous God, the blood of Christ now covers our sins and labels us as redeemed before the Lord.
Every Christmas, we celebrate the ultimate gift from God—that in Jesus, we have been saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8). This reality should be remembered daily! Paul writes in Romans 5:1 (NIV), “Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This peace with God is a game changer when it comes to our prayer life, and we owe it all to our Savior, Jesus!
What is so beautiful about Jesus’ life is not only that He gave it up to redeem us and grant us peace with God, but it also serves as an example for how we should live ours! Therefore, we can look to His prayer life as a model for our own. Although there are certainly different ways to pray, prayer can most basically be explained as a conversation with God, and that conversation can happen anytime and at any place!
Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry, He would often retreat to spend quiet time with the Father and pray. Matthew 14:23 (NIV) explains that Jesus “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” after spending time with the crowds, and Mark 1:35 (NIV) describes that He would wake up “very early in the morning, while it was still dark” and go off “to a solitary place, where He prayed.” Additionally, Jesus often prayed aloud before miracles and before meals.
Not only do we see this example of relentless prayer in Jesus Himself, but we can see it in his mother as well! After being told she would bear the Messiah, Mary went to stay with Elizabeth for about three months. Although we have limited documentation on what Mary did during this time, we can imagine that she prayed in the same relentless manner from observing her worshipful prayer in Luke 1:46-55.
An often overlooked key aspect of Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:6-7 is that we should pray and make our requests “with thanksgiving,” which is exactly what Mary’s prayer encompasses. Therefore, in looking at the examples of both Jesus and Mary, we can see and understand what it means to receive God’s peace as a result of prayer.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ, our Prince of Peace, may we also celebrate that He has graciously given us the best gifts we will ever receive: salvation from sin, restoration to God, and unlimited access—through consistent, authentic, and thankful prayer—to His incomprehensible and incomparable transcendent peace!
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.