Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Prayer and the Army of God's Protection (Prayer Summer)

Green Lake Conference Center, Wisconsin

D, one of our Prayer Summer partners, writes: 

"In my alone time with God He is showing me that I must lean on Him especially now. He knows what I am going through. He understands the heartbreak and the pain of what is going on right now in my life. When I am alone with God I feel this incredible peace and comfort, even in the mist of not understanding why certain things are happening.  He is teaching me that He is in control of All things and that I am going to have to trust Him."

I'm thinking much about the peace of God this week, especially since I'm preaching on Philippians 4:4-7 this coming Sunday. In these verses we have four admonitions plus a promise:

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always (there's that ubiquitous Pauline word "in" again)
  2. Let your gentleness be evident to all
  3. Don't be anxious about anything
  4. Pray in every situation, with thanksgiving
Do such things, and "the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

The word "guard" is a military term. Ben Witherington writes: 

"Since the city of Philippi was at that time guarded by a Roman garrison, the metaphor would have been easily understood and appreciated by the Philippian readers. Paul is talking about a consequence of praying with thanksgiving. A sense of God’s presence, peace, wholeness comes over the one praying, stilling and reassuring the heart about things and thus removing anxiety." (Witherington, Paul's Letter to the Philippians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary)

D, who is going through a difficult time in her life, is deepening her prayer life. She is experiencing the peace of God enveloping her like an army of God's protection, as God has promised.