Bible verse 1: Philippians 4:4-7
Bible verse 2: Matthew 6:26-27
There is so much goodness to delve into for today’s reading, that I wish I could get to it all (but that would be a whole different study). We’ve come to my favorite passage in all of scripture. The commands and promises given to us here are beautifully written, gently said, and can give us hope and renewal whenever we dwell on them.
I worry a lot, and I know there are many people (maybe all of us?) who wake up with a head full of the day’s anxieties and go to bed already tackling the next day’s. When I’m stuck in a state of anxiety I can assure you that I am too preoccupied to “rejoice” in the LORD as Paul instructs (twice!) in verse 4. I’m the kind of person who likes to solve problems as soon as I think of them, and so God goes to the back burner while I try to sort out my life on my own.
But the beautiful thing about this passage is it reminds us that we aren’t supposed to solve our problems on our own. God doesn’t want us to. God wants to hear our prayers of petition, our requests, and wants to take our anxieties from us and aide us in our time of need.
How easy it is to forget the love and gentleness our Lord has for us.
Once when I was in college, I was running a little low on money. On my way to mass that day, I was talking with a friend and said “I could really just use fifty bucks."
My friend looks at me and says, “Why don’t you ask God?"
I laughed, until I realized my friend wasn’t joking. Ask God? For a fifty? It’s not like I was poor or destitute, or like I didn’t have parents that couldn’t have lent me the money, so of course praying for it had never really crossed my mind. It seemed kind of selfish.
Later in mass I jokingly added to my prayers, “and if you could give me fifty bucks, God, that would be great,” thinking nothing of it.
Now every year my grandma enters my name and my siblings names into a calendar drawing for this club she is a part of. Each day is worth a certain amount of money and whoever’s name gets drawn on that day wins the money. (I know, my grandma is super nice. Love you, grandma!)
A few days after my little joke of a prayer to God, I get a call from my mom telling me to look out for $200 in my bank account because I’d won the calendar drawing that week. I was taken aback. Not only had God actually provided the $50 I asked for, he multiplied four-fold! But even more important than the actual money, was the lesson he taught me that week. I definitely got an “I told you so” from my friend.
I’m not saying to treat God like an ATM. What I am saying, is that God can do anything. Why do we think that God won’t hear our prayers? Why do we assume that what we need is too little, or too big for our God? We spend so much thought and anxiety on what WE can do, forgetting that we have the power of God as well.
Sure God didn’t come to my dorm room with his giant divine checkbook, but he did provide through the people I know and love, and all I had to do was ask Him.
The second part of that verse that I want to focus on is the aspect of thanksgiving. Yes, we are to come to God with our requests big or small, but Paul notes the importance of thanks. I know I am quick to forget about God when my prayers are answered. I am too busy rejoicing in getting what I want, not in the Lord! But how much sweeter are our prayers of petition when we already remember the many things we have been blessed with?
Even before I got the call about the calendar drawing that week, my anxiety over money had already been eased. Christ truly had given me peace about my financial situation, even before my prayer was answered. And every time I get overwhelmed with worry, usually the only thing that can give me peace is prayer.
God loves you, my sisters. Paul doesn’t promise that all our prayers will be answered exactly as we want, but he does promise that we will be given peace and that our God is generous and will make care of us.
So let’s remember to rejoice in the Lord always! And let our kindness be known to all!
Reflection question 1: What are some blessings that you haven’t thanked God for lately?
Reflection question 2: Have you ever not asked God for something because it seemed too big or too little? Why did you feel that way? How can you change your attitude towards prayer?
Act: Today, try to remember to ask God for all the things you need, big or small. Don’t forget to throw in thanksgiving with your petitions!