Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. —Philippians 4:6
In his biography of Sidlow Baxter, E. A. Johnston relates a story about this verse. When Baxter was eighty-eight, he preached in Memphis, saying, “I was over in Scotland and at one point while there I slumped into a deep despondency. Everything seemed upsetting and frustrating and foreboding…. It seemed as though the promises of the Bible were like pie crust. Was it any use praying longer? I was having trouble with deafness. And along with that, tinnitus. Loud noises in both my ears day and night…. I went to bed weary with mental wrestling and frustration. And then, somewhere between night and morning, September 6th and 7th, something happened that changed everything. I heard no audible voice but someone had wakened me amid the curtains of the night; and was speaking within me…. He said, ‘Sid! Sid! Are you forgetting Philippians 4, verses 6 and 7?’ Those verses 6 and 7 perfectly match September 6 and 7. ‘You’ve been forgetting the thanksgiving. Hand everything over to Me, Sid. And start praying again with thanksgiving. And start believing that what you ask for becomes yours. TRY IT, Sid. And if you do, Philippians 4:6 and 7 is all yours.’”
Baxter continued: “Philippians 4:6 and 7 was like an electric bulb turned on. And I saw everything with illuminating difference and clearness…. My whole nervous system had become relaxed. And as I prayed with thanksgiving—I could never forget it—the peace of God invaded my heart like a gentle zephyr.”
Ruth Bell Graham once told of laying awake at three o’clock in another country, worried about someone she loved who was trying hard to run away from God. As she later recalled, “Suddenly the Lord said to me, ‘Quit studying the problems and start studying the promises.’ Now God has never spoken to me audibly, but there is no mistaking when He speaks. So I turned on the light, got out my Bible, and the first verse that came to me was Philippians 4:6.”
The two words that struck her were these: with thanksgiving.
“Suddenly I realized the missing ingredient in my prayers had been ‘with thanksgiving.’ So I put down my Bible and spent time worshipping Him for who He is and what He is…. I began to thank God for giving me this one I loved so dearly in the first place. I even thanked Him for the difficult spots which taught me so much. And you know what happened? It was as if suddenly someone turned on the lights in my mind and heart, and the little fears and worries which, like mice and cockroaches, had been nibbling away in the darkness, suddenly scuttled for cover.”
Those words, “in everything” are blessed…. The Bible here plainly commands us that “in everything” we should make our requests known to God. —John R. Rice
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.
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