Prayer Basics – Pt. 4

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THE BASICS OF PRAYER (Pt. 4 of 6) 

TEXT: Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1. PRAYER PROTECTS AND DELIVERS US FROM ANXIETY

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 

-It is clear from this passage that prayer is a means to not only cope with anxiety and worry, but to overcome it and rise above it.

-We must remember this in the church. By being a people of prayer, a congregation can create an atmosphere where life is easier for all of us. What prayer brings from Heaven to us defeats and silences the voice of anxiety, fear, doubt and worry that war inside our heads. This is to be a primary practice in our personal lives as believers and it our corporate lives as a congregation. But such is not always the case. This reminds me of …

ILLUS- One church had on the billboard by the roadside, "Don't let worry kill you, let the Church help!"

-Dear friends, we do not need to be adding to one another's anxieties by the way we act and treat each other, we need to be praying and making life easier for each other!

-Now personally, learn to discern when anxiety first begins to come upon you. At THAT moment, begin to pray. Why? That brings us to the next point.

2. PRAYER PROVIDES US WITH GOD'S PEACE

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-Peace is usually not thought of in this way, but actually peace is a powerful weapon that is given us for the warfare of the soul. It stabilizes us and keeps us vertically aligned with the One who is our Peace.

-In Romans 16:20 Paul tells us that the God of Peace enables us to see Satan crushed under our feet. Of course, that's where he belongs…under our feet, not given commands in our heads and influencing our hearts.

-I have found that when I become frustrated, irritated, or anxious, it is because is some way I have lost my peace. I have learned to pray and ask God to help me see where I missed it and ask Him to restore my peace as I adjust to what He shows me,

-You do NOT have to blown about by a whirlwind of circumstances, you can find the peace in the middle of the storm.

-When you allow God's peace to calm the storm in you, then you will find that you can be calm in the storm.

3. PRAYER ALLOWS US TO SPECIFICALLY FOCUS ON PROBLEM AREAS

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-Prayer, supplication, and requests are all words that demonstrate you are taking things to God and talking to God about those things. This is what I meant earlier about praying at the first sign of anxiety. Learn to lose your peace for shorter periods of time until you have peace most of the time. Of course, the goal is to live in peace at all times, but start where you are and learn the steps of living in peace.

-Be specific in your prayers by bringing your "stressors" to the Lord. The things that push your panic button, should also be the things that push your prayer button.

ILLUS- C.S. Lewis remings us, "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in."

4. PRAYER IS A MEANS TO STAY GRATEFUL

 Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-Thanksgiving is another powerful and vital part of prayer. With it we can literally change the atmosphere in which we live. It is important for our prayerlife and for our whole life.

ILLUS– In Acts 16, we see Paul and Silas in prison praising God, not complaining to God. As a result, the chains that were bound were shaken off them. In a similar way, when we begin to thank God and praise God the chains of anxiety fall away from us.

-When the praise goes up, the glory comes down, the chains fall off, and the devil leaves town. Wow, that might make a good rap song, ugh? Seriously, the devil will leave for a season. If you can get him out of your mind, then you are equipped to move him out in other ways. This brings us to the final point.

5. PRAYER BRINGS ABOUT AN UNFETTERED MIND

 Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

-Anxiety is very much a battle that takes place in the mind, and when wrong thoughts start ruling us, then the devil starts ruining us. Interestingly, verse 8 which is the very next verse, Paul tells us what healthy thoughts should fill our mind instead of thoughts of anxiety.

-In order to be good thinkers, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to expose and root out our stinking thinking. How much more productive and healthy we would all be, if we allowed our thoughts to be lead by God's Word.

-I am reminded of a humorous story that illustrates our need to be good thinkers…

ILLUS-A man had bought a new gadget-unassembled, of course–and after reading and rereading the instructions he couldn't figure out how it went together. Finally, he sought the help of an old handyman who was working in the backyard. The old fellow picked up the pieces, studied them, then began assembling the gadget. In a short time, he had it put together. "That's amazing," said the man. "And you did it without even looking at the instructions!" 

-Notice the peace of God here is described like a soldier who guards a gate to keep out would-be intruders. This is a picture of the gateway of our minds. We need the Lord's help to keep from responding to these wrong thoughts. I think Paul had this in mind when he was writing to the Colossians as well when he instructed them to let the peace of God rule in their hearts. When our peace is disturbed we are at that moment alerted that we are about to go out of bounds. The picture is that of peace being like an umpire. What a treasure God has given us by giving us His powerful peace. No wonder there is such warfare against our minds to steal our peace. But now, hopefully, through God's Word we are now a little better equipped to deal with it.

CONCLUSION: How fitting it would be in concluding this teaching, if we would simply practice what has been preached. Let's pray now concerning the anxieties in our lives. Would you come and…….

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