Don’t be anxious Paul commands – about anything – but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
It would be good to remind ourselves of this timeless truth that anxiety can be overcome through conversation with God! Paul, the battle scarred apostle, writes these words from a prison awaiting trail – looking into a very uncertain future. Just like the days we belong to at present! Uncertainty seems to be the anthem of our day. Uncertain economics is all over the media, driving even the bravest of hearts into the closet of fear. Will there be a vaccination for covid in the near future? What about my children and grandchildren at school? All these question are valid but cause that slight twinge of anxiety to rise in our being.
Amazon has done some research only to find that this passage out of Philippians has been the most highlighted piece of literature on Kindle ebooks in a while. Funny thing is, you have to believe in prayer to apply the first part of the passage, not hold the book to your forehead hoping it rubs off. Prayer is first of all dialogue, it can be loud – silent – commanding – poetic. James Houston, the founder of Regent College, writes a fine book called Friendship with God and encourages us to chat with God like a friend who sits in our time and space, who is concerned with our concerns.
I have made it a practice every night to recite the Gladsome Light out of the BCP “O gladsome light, pure brightness of the ever-living Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing praises to God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of Life, and to be glorified through all the worlds.”
Two weeks ago, at a Baptist church planting conference, I read this after the evening session. A brave soul asked “Can you read that again”?! To be followed by someone asking what is vesper light? Good question – it is the only light found at the setting of the sun – when the sun holds it breathe, dips beneath the horizon and is gone. That is vesper light. It serves as a reminder that every life lived, will hold it’s breathe for the last time and be raised anew with Christ! Thus the encouragement to praise with happy voices. Praise and worship is the great guardian of the heart. Paul knew this as he encouraged us to pray with thanksgiving! He knew it would guard our faint hearts as we look into an uncertain futures. Paul writes it in one place, it happens to be in the book of Philippians, but how many times did he practice it? Countless times I am sure! My prayer is that our anxious hearts may hear God’s invitation to true dialogue!
Peace be with you,