Break Glass in Case of Emergency
Earlier this year while stuck at home from an extended sickness, I had the opportunity to reflect upon prayer and its benefits. Even as a pastor, prayer sometimes gets relegated to the status of break glass in case of emergencies. Instead of treating it as a first step, I sometimes find it to be the last tool that I reach for. The Lord used that time of reflection in my life to remind me just how important it is to see prayer as a vital means of grace.
One passage that came to mind when considering prayer was Philippians 4:4-7 which states,
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Paul is writing to the church in Philpi encouraging them to live lives that honor God and is full of contentment no matter what trials come their way. To do this, he highlights prayer as one of the most effective tools the believer has.
Paul says in this passage to be always rejoicing. We should find joy always in the Lord no matter what circumstances we are in. He immediately follows this with letting our reasonableness be known to everyone. I believe he is making the connection here between rejoicing in the Lord and being reasonable. When we orient our minds rightly, we are able to see the whole picture better.
We are also called in this passage to not be anxious but instead to make our requests known to God. This comes with the promise that the peace of God will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Again Paul is tying these two ideas together in that by lifting up our prayers to God, we will learn to not be anxious. A defense against worry and anxiety is trusting in God and letting our hearts desires be known to him.
Now isn’t that often backwards of how we do it? Don’t we first try to go after our desires and then turn to God when they don’t seem to work out?
The reason praying in this way is so effective is that it teaches us we need God more than anything else. We pray because we need Him. We share our desires with him because he cares for us and for our needs. As we pray, we are shaping our desires to match God’s desires for us.
A prayer that I personally use frequently in my own life is Psalm 25 verses 1-7. David really captures what is important for our lives. I invite you to use these words as your own prayer unto the Lord. May we all continue to grow in looking to the Lord first, instead of after life’s situations have occurred.
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!”
Pastor Aaron Suber