“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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
Wreath Directions: Light two purple candles.
Read Aloud: Philippians 4:4-7; Mark 4:35-41; 1 Peter 5:6-7
Suggested Carol: Still, Still, Still
Another aspect of Christ’s coming is the peace He brings inside our hearts. This peace I refer to is neither the peace of salvation nor the peace that comes between neighbors, but instead the peace that comes in the midst of life’s storms. Paul writes to the believers in Philippi that whenever anxieties and worries come upon them, they should react with prayer. Give up your cares before God and He will take them from you. And the benefit of such action will be peace — a peace that passes all understanding.
Often times when you see a Christian overwhelmed by worry, you know that they are having difficulty with giving up their anxieties to God and allowing the peace of Jesus to cover their hearts. Praying doesn’t mean the troubles go away. But when you pray and truly give the requests to God, fears are overwhelmed by faith and the assurance that you are not only loved but also cherished by God as a son or daughter.
I remember a night, years ago, when I was overwhelmed by my financial situation. I was broke beyond broke, holding a part time job but seing that income disappear into rent, utilities, credit debt, and a car payment. One Wednesday night as I drove home from church, where I had just taught a Bible class, I lost it. As I drove down a dark road I just cried out to God in frustration and fear. “Why must I suffer?” I cried.
After a few minutes of emotional terror I hit my breaking point and prayed, “Father, I know you love me and want me to follow your Son. I will follow. Thank you for your grace. And for your listening ear. Please take these burdens from me and deal with them in your timing and in your wisdom. I give them to you.” At that moment the peace of Jesus Christ came upon my heart and my emotions calmed down. When I got home the debt remained. But I no longer feared it. I had peace.
Have you experienced such a moment? A moment when you prayed and the peace of Christ came upon your heart?
There is great peace when we are in communication with God — when we are talking with Him regularly. So next time a life storm rumbles on your doorstep, follow the advice given in today’s passage. Take it to the Lord in prayer and rest in His perfect peace.
This week’s prayer is:
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace. We who were once alienated from You by our sin have now been reconciled to You through the blood of Your Son. And now He is our peace both pertaining to salvation and to life. We thank you for this peace in His holy name. Amen.”