Prayer as Comfort

Joy Petroelje

READ : Philippians 4

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (v. 6)

Outwit, outplay, outlast. The motto of the reality television series “Survivor” well defines the world we live in. The messages the world aims at us tempt us to want it all. We must be bigger, faster, stronger. We must make more money, have more successful children and larger and more lavish homes than our neighbors. Such a mad rush after the many “must-haves” can cause health problems, marriage and family problems, and spiritual problems. The need for everything can make us anxious about anything.

Our key verse follows Paul’s urging to rejoice (4:4) and his declaration that the Lord is near (4:5). Paul wanted the Philippians to remember God’s presence and celebrate. He also knew they worried about many things. So he didn’t tell them to give just certain challenges, longings, or angst-ridden moments to God. He taught them to hand their worry over and go to God with everything, all while making thanks part of the prayer equation.

When we calm down and give God the glory, our anxieties become less. Instead of needing to outwit, outplay, and outlast, we should try instead to out-trust, out-pray, and out-praise. God can make our faith bigger, our trust stronger, and our worries diminish faster. We simply need to pray. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).


God of comfort, I surrender.