#203 – BUT IN EVERYTHING (30/9/20)
Over the last week, what have you worried and maybe moaned about?
I’m sure that we’ve all had the experience of being anxious during this Corona Virus mess. Each of our lives, like the branches of a tree, touch so many people and contexts that we are all bound to be able to find reasons to be anxious. Anxiety is over-thinking. It’s when an issue constantly distracts you. Anxiety left to smoulder ‘over-heats’ the challenge or relational tension. Paul exhorts us,
'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’ (Philippians 4:6)
Firstly, we need to recognise that we are being anxious. Do you realise that different fires require different fire extinguishers? For example, you should never put water on an electrical fire - one needs to think before acting. Likewise, the first step to dealing with anxiety is to think. Notice that you are being anxious. Name it. Outline what is worrying you and why.
But in everything
The next step is to understand that because ‘God is near’ (v.5) we can and should pray about everything. Every small and large challenge should elicit trusting prayer to our Father.
A good practice is to sit or kneel, close your eyes and pray about anything or anyone that comes to mind. Our minds tend to move toward what’s worrying us and so this is a good way of recognising and praying about what is causing us anxiety.
It’s also very helpful to pray short prayers about any challenge that comes our way - in every situation - throughout the day.
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - MAKE PEACE YOUR GUARDIAN THROUGH PRAYER
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
When have you felt most peaceful and why was this the case?
Introduction - please share in your group
On Sunday, and during this week’s devotionals, we are considering how we can experience the peace of God in all circumstances.
Firstly, Paul shows us that we are all prone to losing peace in our relationships. He encourages two leading women in the church to work out their difficulties,
‘I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.(Philippians 4:2-3)
Secondly, Paul talks more broadly about how we can make peace our guardian through joyful prayer. He writes,
‘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)
As we choose worship, prayer and thanks as we are assaulted with anxiety, we will enjoy peace with God, peace in our relationships and inner tranquility that defies logic.
Discuss in your group
(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)
1. What does it mean to ‘rejoice in the Lord’ and why does Paul repeat this? (4:4)
2. How does knowing that ‘the Lord is near’ (4:5) help us to be gentle and less anxious?
2. We are encouraged to bring everything to the Father in prayer (4:6). How could one cultivate this habit?
2. What is the peace of God that we are promised as a guard? (4:7)
Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:
1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?
2. What will you do in response?
3. How can we pray for you?
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