Prayer

We talk about it a lot.  Hopefully we do it frequently.  Yet it still remains something of a mystery for many.  Somehow, many of us are not quite sure we are doing it “right.”

What am I talking about?  Prayer.

It is key to our relationship with God.  No wonder then that the disciples specifically asked of Jesus, “Lord, teach us how to pray.”  No wonder, as well, that Paul writes about it in a way that more than suggests we cannot follow God without getting this into the very heart of our daily walk of faith.

Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, chapter 4, verses 6-7:

“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Swindoll, Charles R.. Strengthening Your Grip (p. 159). Worthy Publishing. Kindle Edition.

It is one of my favorites passages of scripture and it promises so much: the peace of God…shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Who doesn’t want that?

Still, most of us have trouble – at least at times – doing what it says to do – the be anxious for nothing part and, as for “in everything” let your requests be known part – that’s hard to do too.  We want to hold on to things, control the process, make sure all the bases are covered.

Paul – and more importantly, Jesus – remind us that this is fundamentally the wrong approach.

Prayer, at it’s heart, is about letting go in perfect trust.  It is about staking our very lives on the promise that God knows best – and that God loves best.  This is what Jesus was getting at when he reminded us that even we, who are imperfect in so many ways, know how to give good things to our children.  Can’t we trust that God, who IS perfect, will give us what is best for us – whether we know it or not?

So, do you want to know how to have that peace that guards your heart and mind no matter what?  Do  you want to know how to have that peace that passes all understanding.  Begin your prayer for that this way. In fact, begin all your prayers this way:

“Lord, thy will be done.”

Then just sit back and watch, and wonder, at what happens next.

AMEN.

 

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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