4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Have you seen a movie called ‘Bruce Almighty’? It’s a comedy. Jim Carrey plays a news anchor, Bruce Nolan, who is very unhappy with his life and his work. He whines, complains, and blames God for his situations. So one day, God appears to him and gives him all his powers to prove to him that he can do a better job. But once he gets to be ‘God’, Bruce starts hearing voices in his head. He realizes that those voices are people’s prayers that he needs to deal with somehow. He creates an email system to answer all the prayer requests, but they never stop coming. He gets overwhelmed and even annoyed.
We often think this way about God. We see him as having too much on his plate. That we might be ‘bothering’ him with our prayers. We think there are ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ prayer requests. Small, trivial things should not be prayed about. We think we should just deal with them ourselves. We think we should only ask God about big, important things. So we filter our prayers. We let God in on only certain parts of our lives.
I think that’s a big misconception. There is no prayer that is too insignificant for God. God wants to be part of our WHOLE life, not just some. When we understand that about God, we can live a prayerful life.
Prayer is not a chore. It is not a transaction either. Prayer is talking with God. Prayer is what connects us to God. Being prayerful is to be connected to God at all times. God wants us to come to him in EVERY situation. St. Paul tells us today—
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6
We human beings are very impressionable. We are easily influenced by the things around us. One word that someone says can totally ruin our day, no matter how well it was going until that moment. One little worry that pops up in our mind can keep us occupied, to a point where we don’t get anything done. We can get easily shaken, like a tree hit violently by a storm.
God has given us prayer to keep us strong. So that we may bend, but never break. To guard our hearts and minds that are so vulnerable to temptations and distractions. When we pray, God clothes our hearts and minds with peace. We experience God’s power through prayer.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7
Jesus lived a prayerful life. He did not see prayer as something to ‘do’. He saw prayer as an opportunity to be with and talk with God. He started each day by being with God.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.Mark 1:35
Jesus lived a very busy life. It was demanding. He struggled with his own worries and concerns. But he brought them all before God. He asked God for his help and strength to face the day. Throughout the day, he remained attentive to how God was present in every situation. No matter how busy he was, he was connected to God.
Jesus showed us how to live a prayerful life. Prayerful life is a good life. Instead of counting how many times we pray in a day or trying to come up with ‘right’ words, it is more important to focus on being connected to God. Letting God be involved in all aspects of our life.
There is a famous prayer called the ‘Jesus Prayer’. It’s very simple. It goes: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.” It’s another way of saying, “Jesus, please help me.” “Lord, I need you. Be gracious to me.” You can recite it out loud or quietly in your heart. You can repeat it as many times as you want. Say this prayer throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing. Let it be a rhythm of your life without making it mechanical.
God will answer your prayers. JOY will fill your life. THANKSGIVING will abound in your life. PEACE will surround you and protect you. You will be able to withstand any storm that comes your way.
Relationship is about trust and dependence on each other. Without those things, two people grow apart and distant. The same can be said for our faith journey. Without prayer, we become disconnected from God. Through prayer, we become connected to God. Don’t just pray; be PRAYERFUL.