What is the Meaning of Philippians 4.6-7? Practice Proper Praying!

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“Practicing Proper Prayer:

The Answer to Anxiety”

 

Introduction to the Meaning of Philippians 4:6-7

Philippians 4. Now more than ever, you can literally worry about everything in the world.

Benenden Health in the U.K. has produced a worthwhile study that shows how invested we seem to be in chronic worry. According to the results, Britons spent an average of 14 hours a week brooding over their weight, poor relationships, the cost of living and other stressors.

What People Worry About

.According to the study, here’s what people worried about.

1. Being overweight

2. Getting old

3. [money, debt, loans]

4. fitness

5. Low energy levels

8. Paying rent/mortgage

9. Job security

10. Diet

11. Keeping the house clean

12. Finding a new job

14. Generally unhappy

15. Wrinkles or ageing appearance

16. Whether or not I am attractive

17. Physique

18. Meeting work targets or goals

19. Does my partner still love me

20. Whether I’ll find or / are am with the right partner

21. Whether I’m in the right career

22. Friend or family issues

23. Parenting skills

24. Unhealthy reliance or addiction

25. Driving

26. Pet’s health

27. Child’s health

28. Dress sense

29. Worrying I’m ill but yet to be tested/ seek help

30. Partner is cheating/may cheat.

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Ten Symptoms of Worry

1. Sleepless nights

2. Lost confidence

3. Arguments with partner

4. Reduced appetite

5. Poor performance at work

6. Distance from partner

7. Avoided a social event

8. Increased alcohol consumption

9. Paranoia

10. Nausea

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How to Stop Worrying According to the World

Drink chamomile tea, get your omega 3’s, breathe in lavender, add l-lysine to your diet, Get sunlight, exercise, epsom salts, cut out caffeine, alcohol, sugar…eat blueberries, whole grains, oats, avacodos

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Or only allow yourself to worry at certain times of day, thought control, and take medications.[1]

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And today, unlike any other time in history, you can worry about what’s going on in America, Tonga, Swaziland, or Djibouti. Who is going to bomb whom, you name it …

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But through the Holy Spirit, Paul gives us the Lord’s counsel for worry and anxiety…

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Philippians 4:6–7 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Anxiety can overwhelm so much that when you hear the command “don’t worry”; “don’t be axious” you say, “yeah right, no way I could get over this.” But you can! Whether it’s social anxiety, anxiety over some aspect of the future…whatever it is, you can get to the point where you’re not anxious!

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…. “What if a terrorist comes to Edmonton when I’m there…what if my spouse or child has a car accident…or what if it doesn’t rain…what if it does rain? I’m too anxious to go into that social setting or whatever. What if they make fun of me …. ? What if …what if … what if?!! For me, it’s getting lost while driving…I’ll have to turn the air conditioning on in the winter! What is it for you?

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There you are in the middle of the night worrying; or driving down the road and you’re feel a panic attack …. argggh! All that worry is so debilitating!

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“Be anxious for nothing…” Really? I want it, how do I get it? The world would say … “in everything by mind control and chamomile, with medication, let your worries be made known to your psychiatrist” then you’ll have peace.

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But God’s answer to anxiety is this: the practice of proper praying. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything let your requests be made known before God… and the promise is…verse 7… the peace of God will guard your hearts.

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You say, “Prayer, really? That’s the answer? Seems to easy.” Oh yea? Well, show me a man or a woman of prayer, who has been practicing proper prayer, and I’ll show you someone who has at least fairly low anxiety levels.

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ILL: That’s because proper praying … the practice of proper praying and anxiety go together like water and fire. Water puts the fire out like the practice of proper praying puts out the fires of anxiety.

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Learn to turn your anxious thoughts into proper prayers and you’ll experience God’s peace instead of anxiety and worry.

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Naturally, just because you pray properly, doesn’t mean that everything in your life is going to be all better. But you can get through the difficult times without anxiety or worry.

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So notice that our text doesn’t say “just pray about it.” No, you must practice proper prayer to get over anxiety.

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Context: Paul is writing to the Philippians. They are tempted to be anxious. You remember from verse 5 that they are to let their gentleness or their forbearance be known to all men. Paul is telling them this while they are being persecuted.

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So you can understand their anxiety. They are Christians living among people who want to harm them. Now that they understand that they must not fight back against their persecutors, that can cause anxiety. The issue is outside of their control. That’s your problem too! You’re not in control!

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But for the Philippians, not only is their trouble on the outside of the church, but on the inside, too.

Euodia and Syntheche are at odds with each other, 4:12 and 4:19 may indicate that they are in some sort of financial need… So you can understand their temptation to be anxious.

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First, the Command: Do not be anxious (Phil. 4:6a)

EXP: But Paul writes them, “Be anxious for nothing.” That’s a command. “Don’t be anxious about anything.” This word means to have anxious concern, worry, apprehension about something.

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Now, there are certain situations that you should be afraid of. Like touching fire or having some fear of heights.

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But we can take good responses like that too far. Like if you were to worry that you may come in contact with fire… or it’s good to have a healthy fear of snakes…but if you wake up in the middle of the night especially in northern Alberta and think “what if this or that about snakes” you’ve taken it too far, it’s no longer healthy.

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ILL: But in reality, we’re not to worry over the big things in life, let alone the small things. Turn over to Matt. 6:25. Here, Jesus tells us we are not even to worry about big things like food, drink, and clothing…the basic things of life. How much more ought we not to worry about smaller things?

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Matthew 6:25–34 25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? [yes it is! Point: Your life is worth more than the things you worry about.] 26 [Jesus talks to us about food] “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. [My Father feeds them!] Are you not worth much more than they? [yes, I am…Point: My Heavenly Father will sustain me too] 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? [No one! Point: Worrying doesn’t add anything of value to your life] 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! [God clothes grass, He’ll clothe me! Point: My Heavenly Father will sustain me] 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 [why? Because that’s a mark of someone who is lost…] “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. [Point: My Heavenly Father knows what I need] 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

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We are commanded not to worry about the big things like food, water, and clothing… how much more are we not to worry about lesser things like wealth, my equipment, the weather, and the like.

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ILL: You can’t solve anything by worrying. You can’t make your life last longer that way and you can’t solve anything that way either. If you keep worrying and you keep on being content with your anxiety, you’re life will continue to be one big cloud of worry and anxiety that hides all the glories of God’s will for you. Allow Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century London preacher, illustrate how worry and anxiety affects your relationship with God for us… When you worry you take a telescope, breath on the eye piece with the hot breath of your anxiety, and then put it up to your eye, and then say that you can’t see anything but clouds.”

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Is that what you want? Of course you don’t! You want to see all the glories of God! You don’t want to go through life with no sight of the Son, no sight of His glorious will for you. But you won’t catch a glimpse of God’s glorious will for you if you keep breathing your anxiety and worry all over your life; you’ll be stagnant.

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TRANS: So what are you going to do? What should you do? Practice proper praying!

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Second, the Solution is Prayer (Phil. 4:6b)

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

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philippians 4.6

Now, we need to admit something. Some cases of anxiety and worry can be physical, like too much bodily stress, thyroid issues, not eating properly, or sleeping properly, or being overworked, etc. These things can result in increased feelings of anxiety when you normally wouldn’t be anxious.

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But the vast majority of the time, the issue is your heart, your thoughts. God’s solution for you, who made your heart, who is commanding you this day is you must practice proper praying.

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Practice Praying!

It takes practice. The verse says … in everything ...“let your requests be made known to God.”

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In every situation and in every circumstance, make your requests known before God. In everything. This is the practice of proper praying.

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As you follow this wisdom and you let your requests be made known before God in every circumstance and situation, you’ll get better and better at it and the peace of God will increasingly guard your heart.

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ILL: But it takes practice. You can’t expect to be good at something overnight. If you one day set your heart to practice playing hockey, you’re not necessarily in the NHL after the first practice session.

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Once you set your mind to practice proper praying, you’re not necessarily going to instantly get rid of your anxiety. Keep at it; it’ll come, but you can’t quit. Keep on practicing proper praying and as you do the anxiety will melt away.

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But you must pray about it all. “No care, all prayer!” There is nothing too big there is nothing too small. If it causes worry or anxiety, make your requests before Him.

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ILL: You don’t know how many times my children have come to me with small little scraps or cuts, or some seemingly insignificant issue. Someone I know was stuck in the railing going downstairs yesterday and cried out in fear! And so I came running, wasn’t a big deal after it was all over… just turn your heard this way… But the request came to me and so I ran to help.

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And if I, being evil, know how to help my child, how much more does God know how to help you?

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APP: Pray about the weather, your wealth, debt, your kids, your house, job whatever! And every little thing, too! “In everything, make your requests known before God!”

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But you make your requests to God how? How do you do it? It says… “by” prayer, supplication, with thanksgiving. So in this passage we have 4 steps of proper praying. We must practice praying but you have to practice it properly, correctly!

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ILL: If you practice that piano piece the wrong way, you’ll learn it wrong. Pray properly to relieve anxiety!

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Step#1: Worship

Step#2: Be a beggar

Step#3: Be thankful

Step#4: Request

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Many of the words in verse 6 you can translate as prayer…

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You could translate this verse this way…In everything by prayer and prayer with prayer let your prayers been made known to God.” But each of these words has a unique angle that helps us understand God’s solution for anxiety.

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Step #1 Worship: This is our approach to prayer

“In everything by prayer.” That word prayer speaks to our frame of mind as we approach prayer.[2] We should have a reverence in our hearts toward God.

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That’s why Jesus teaches us to pray, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” or “may you be kept holy.” That’s our opportunity to praise the Lord. We should praise Him as we approach Him. He is all deserving.

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Step#2 Be a beggar.

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“In everything by prayer and supplication.” This is an earnest appeal.

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You remember when Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane the night before He was to be crucified and experience the full wrath of God for the sins of the world, He was in agony! And he was praying fervently, earnestly. And His sweat became as if were great drops of blood falling on the ground.

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He was praying earnestly!

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Supplication is not flippant praying…”Lord, thank you for this day, thank you for the many blessings that you give to us….” No it’s “Ah my heavenly Father! Unless you come, I’m undone!”

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ILL: It’s like a beggar. I remember I was at my grandmother’s farm when I was a boy, sometime after my grandmother’s dog was dead and buried. We were playing wiffle ball out in the yard at dusk and all of a sudden this large crawling creature was approaching me …on it’s belly, scooting along with its legs underneath him.

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It was a dog! It had nowhere else to turn! For all he knew, we would beat him. But the dog was starving and had ears full of ticks and didn’t know what else to do!

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That’s a beggar of a dog! Nowhere else to turn, he finds us and gets help

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That’s what you need to do; that’s the way you need to be toward God, a beggar! If you are suffering from anxiety, whatever is causing it, you need to learn to supplicate God; to beg God and have a trust toward Him knowing that He’ll help you.

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TRANS: Practice proper praying to alleviate anxiety. Approach God with worship, know yourself to be a beggar and pray like one, third…

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Step#3. Be thankful: be thankful for the situation

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

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EXP:. Thankfulness must accompany your requests… with thanksgiving! You can’t be a complainer in prayer and expect God’s peace. Express thankfulness to God; Thank Him for Christ, thank Him for your family, friends, church, growth in Christ, food, water, clothing, a job, health, rain, no rain, the sky, stars, etc.

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ARG: Paul prays this way, too. Keep in mind, he’s in prison when he writes Philippians. Even in prison, he’s thankful! Philippians 1:3–4 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all,

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But not just Philippians, he’s also thankful in …

Romans 1:8–9 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

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1 Thessalonians 1:2 2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

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2 Timothy 1:3 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,

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To overcome anxiety, every one of your prayers needs to have thankfulness! Thank Him even for the thing that causes you anxiety …really why?…because of Romans 5:3

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Romans 5:3 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our sufferings, knowing that suffering brings about perseverance…and you know you need that, God knows it too!

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ARG: When Paul and Silas were in Philippi, before Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, they were in jail for their testimony for Christ.

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Were they down and out discouraged depressed? “Oh man, can’t believe this is happening…even God can’t help us now… “ No, they “were praying and singing hymns of praise to God.” And afterwards there was a great earthquake the foundations of the prison house were shaken and all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosened!

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They were thankful even in suffering! Do you ah … need a breakthrough …maybe the shackles of your worry broken off your heart? Be thankful when you make your requests. When you practice thankfulness will be the key that unlocks the chains of anxiety.

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ILL: Be thankful even for the peace that He’ll give you as you practice proper praying. Spurgeon again illustrates it this way … “Suppose you had promised to some poor woman that you would give her a meal tomorrow… And then you forget! But suppose when the morning came she sent her [cute] little girl with a basket to fetch it. How can you turn her down? But even more…suppose that she sent along with her girl a little note in which the poor soul thanked you for your great kindness; could you have the heart to say, “My dear girl, I cannot help you today. Come another time”? No way! If your cupboard was bare you would send out to get at least something, because the poor lady so believed in you that she had sent you thanks for it before she received your gift.

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And so trust in the Lord in the same way. The Lord can’t turn back on His word. He wants to give you peace; thank Him that He’ll give you peace as you practice proper praying.

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APP: God wants to give you peace and when you purposefully practice proper praying … say that 5 times fast … when you purposefully practice proper praying you’ll get that peace! “No care, proper prayer!”

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APP: Let me help you with thankfulness … you need to understand that in the goodness of God, you are constantly suspended in blessing between the previous blessing and the next blessing. You are by God’s grace constantly going from one blessing to the next, because … God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, … to become conformed to the image of His Son…”Everything in your life, whether you think so or not, is a blessing. If God can turn the death of His Son into the salvation of hell-bound sinners, he can turn everything in your life for good.

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So be thankful for Christ, for the joys, for the trials which gives you perseverance and more of Christ, and be thankful for this situation that He has brought you into that causes you anxiety … be thankful for it that you may receive His strength to overcome.

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And so thankfulness is the key ingredient in the recipe of anxiety-relieving prayer. Why is that? Because when you’re thankful, you’re submitted to God and trusting Him. Think about it. When you’re anxious, who are you depending on? Yourself! But when you express thankfulness to God, who are you depending on? God!

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The more you thank God every day in happiness or in trouble, the less anxious you’ll grow to be.

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ILL: Those who are anxious are weak in their submission to the sovereign control of God over their lives. They lack trust in the Lord. On my air compressor is a pressure gauge. When I plug it in and turn it on, it fills up with air. The gauge tells me how much air is in there.

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When God turns up the pressure in your life, you have a “trust in God” gauge and it’s your anxiety. If you don’t have much trust in God, when God turns up the pressure your anxiety level will go up. But if you do trust in God, your anxiety level will stay low.

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And if you express regular thankfulness, you’re expressing in that submission to Him and that you trust Him and you’ll be ready when those troublesome times come and you’ll be less anxious.

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APP: What situation are you so anxious about? Some of you were anxious to even come here today, I dare say. Purpose in your prayers to express thankfulness even for whatever causes you anxiety!

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TRANS: But don’t forget, it takes practice…practicing proper praying. That’s the answer to anxiety. In everything, by prayer…you need to reverence God, praise Him. In everything, by prayer and supplication…you need to recognize you are a beggar…. In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…you must pray with thankfulness.

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Finally…

Step#4 Request before God: Then ask

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

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EXP: Literally here, let your requests be made known before God. The idea is that you are letting your request be made known in the very presence of God. You make those requests with the knowledge that you are in His presence.

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ARG: Like what 1 Peter 5:6–7 says …6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

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Humble yourselves under His mighty hand, humble yourselves in His glorious presence … while throwing all your anxiety on Him. He cares for you!

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APP: What is your request? What do you desire in this situation that is causing trouble?

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Whether it’s your finances, relationships, your job, whatever it is, ask for what you want. If you go through the steps: worship God, recognize that you’re a beggar, and you thank him … You then make your request in His glorious presence.

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But keep in mind that he may not answer exactly how you want. But you know he wants you to have peace and not anxiety through it all; He promises to give you peace if you practice proper praying, but you might not wake up tomorrow and be free from all trouble.

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TRANS: But the reward for the practice of proper praying…is peace! And if you have peace

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Third, the Reward: God’s Peace (Phil. 4:7)

Philippians 4:7 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Peace is the reward of believing prayer … like long hard work in a garden gets the produce as a reward. So practice proper praying to get peace!

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EXP: And that peace is the very peace of God. And with Him there is no anxiety. It is His very peacce that He gives us.

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EXP: And that peace will guard your hearts and minds. That word guard is a military term. The city of Philippi, the Christians in which Paul is writing, was guarded by a Roman outpost, a garrison, to protect from foreign invaders. This would’ve been well known. These guards kept watch over their city. They would have every day seen the military in their shiny armor going about the city or at their station.

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Just like those soldiers guard Philippi in the Roman empire, so God’s peace guards the hearts those who are in Christ. It’ll guard you so that you can get through any situation. You won’t be anxious when you go there, you’ll have God’s peace that’ll guard you.

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Philippians 4:7 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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When you receive this peace from God, you won’t be able to properly process it. Because instead of anxiety, you’ll have peace!

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You’ll say, “How on earth do I have peace right now? I have no idea where that came from.” It passes your comprehension, your understanding. It’s the kind of peace that can’t be produced by any other source other than God. The human mind can’t produce it. Everything says you should be very worried right now, but because you’ve practiced these steps of proper prayer, you’re not worried, but full of peace.

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But this is for those who are in Christ.

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Conclusion to the Meaning of Philippians 4:6-7

This is a peace that is only for Christians.

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Jesus says … John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

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There’s a peace in my heart that the world never gave,

A peace it cannot take away;

Though the trials of life may surround like a cloud,

I’ve a peace that has come here to stay!

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Constantly abiding, Jesus is mine…

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Have you trusted Christ this morning? Are you in Christ, found in Him? He is true, you know…His life is real and He lives in His people today.

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No care, but all prayer, in every circumstance. No worry, but worship. Pray as beggar who has nothing but what comes from the hand of God. No worry, but but give thanks!

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Throw all of your anxiety on Him; He constantly cares and His peace He willingly gives…He wants His peace to stand guard at the door of your soul. Will you practice proper prayer to get that peace? Don’t let this slide; resolve today not to be anxious but to with great effort practice proper praying.

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661 to close: All Your Anxiety

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  1. https://www.indy100.com/article/the-20-things-people-worry-about-the-most–xJVjF0DSox

    http://www.naturalnews.com/039332_chronic_worry_symptoms_solutions.html

    https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/how-to-stop-worrying.htm

  2. Lightfoot