As members of the church, we should be of one mind. Focused on sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. But it’s not easy to keep our focus there because there are so many other things that distract us. We become divided on things that don’t really matter in the great scheme of things. Do we really think that God cares what color carpet we choose for the sanctuary, whether there are pews or chairs, or whether we sing hymns or contemporary christian music? What matters is whether our focus is on why Jesus came to earth in the first place.
We worry about all kinds of things. Do we not trust that God is in control of all things? Worry serves the purpose Satan has – it takes us away from the Gospel.
Our sermon today was based on Philippians 4:1-7. Paul was concerned about the drama going on in the church. There was a difference between the believers he’d been serving along side and he wanted his friends to help work this situation for good. Paul had plenty of reasons to be worried or anxious. After all, he was chained to a guard in prison 24/7 on trial for teaching about Jesus Christ. He would either be exonerated or executed. Plenty to worry about. But why didn’t he worry?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:4-7
Paul’s joy was based on the confidence that God was in control. This gives him freedom to let go of his anxieties because he knows that the Lord will take up his cause. We don’t have to worry about vengeance. That belongs to God.
Paul tells us that prayer is how we deal with every situation. Prayer isn’t something that comes easily to us all, but I think that’s because we think there’s one way to pray. Sometimes I don’t feel like I can find the words to express what I want to say. But our prayers don’t have to be eloquent words of poetry. Just tell God what you want to say in plain words. He doesn’t expect us to speak as they did in biblical times. He’ll understand us.
So, Jon, our pastor gave us a simple guide to saying our prayers. I’ve seen it before, but it’s worth sharing here.
Use the acronym A. C. T. S. and pray through it.
- A – Adoration. Giving of praise, credit, respect
- C – Confession. Owning up. Sins, fears, doubts
- T – Thanksgiving. County our blessings reminds us of God’s provision and faithfulness
- S – Supplications. What is the need? Earnestly, humbly asking
Jon challenged us to keep a journal of these prayers for a week and trust the process. But he also warned that praying doesn’t always guarantee that God will do what you want. Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us.
The result of prayer is that the “peace of God” guards the heart and mind. It doesn’t mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it does mean a quiet confidence within, regardless of circumstances, people, or things.
- When I pray I’m reminded of what I do know…
- God is still God
- That He will never leave us or forsake us
- That my Redeemer lives
- All those things merge into the one thing
- The singularity of hope…
- God’s got this
This gives me hope and peace that everything is going to be alright, regardless of what the world looks like right now.