Prayer, Praise, Practice, and Peace

Continuing to hover over Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians in the first part of chapter four.

He’s writing to faithful believers who have faithfully supported him. He’s writing to fearful believers who are worried about Paul and the implications of his Roman imprisonment. He’s writing to faulty believers who need to deal with some internal family strife lest a spirit of division be allowed to take root within their fellowship. So, as he wraps up his short letter to them, he gives some very practical instruction on how to pursue the peace of God and how to invite among themselves the God of peace.

First, pray!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

If it’s causing tension, pray about these things.

Whether they were troubled about the interpersonal issues within their fellowship, or whether it was worry and anxiety that was stressing the relationship between two of their members, Paul says pray. Bring it before the Lord. Bring everything before the Lord. And a state of tranquility from out of this world (literally) will calm the raging storm. Heart and minds will be shielded from fear and frustration. Pray about everything and know the peace of God.

Next, praise!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

(Philippians 4:8 ESV)

If it’s praiseworthy, think about these things.

If it’s deserving of high esteem, meditate on it. Divine truth? Noodle on it. Compute and re-compute, again and again, all that you know about a redemption which comes by faith through a gospel which is the power of God for such salvation. Spend time considering the multi-faceted beauty of a Savior come from heaven and returned to heaven–who even now intercedes at the Father’s right hand on our behalf. Worthy of praise? Chew on it!

Finally, practice!

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

(Philippians 4:9 ESV)

If it’s worth imitating then practice these things.

Heard it taught? Seen it lived out? Know deep down it’s the way of the Christ-follower, then do it! And keep doing it. Exercise those behaviors which are consistent with our calling as Christians until they become holy habits. Work it in by working it out.

While in the flesh, practice may not make perfect but the Spirit says it will invite divine presence. Pray and you’ll experience the peace of God in you. Practice these things and you’ll know the God of peace with you.

Divine presence. Deep peace.

Available, I’m thinking, for those who pray, praise, and practice.

Only by His of grace. Only for His glory.

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