Paul calls on us as believers to rejoice always, to allow our love or gentleness to show to everyone, and to not worry about anything. Always, everyone, anything are pretty complete and all-encompassing. When I look at my life, I realize I fail in all three. I can and do rejoice in the Lord often, but not always. I try to let me love and gentleness show to all people, but not to everyone all the time. I tend not to worry very often, but I do at times.
For some, one or more of these areas are struggles as well. For example, a lot of people worry. We worry about health, terrorism, finances, family, decisions, jobs, and so on. Worry can be a consuming emotion. Paul’s answer to those who worry or don’t rejoice always or fail to show God’s love all the time? Prayer.
Paul suggests that we “take it all to the Lord in prayer.” Again, one of those absolutes: all. Not just some of the things we struggle with, but all that is on our hearts and minds, both the good and the bad. Time in prayer shifts the focus from us to God. Time in prayer builds our trust and reliance on God and His activity instead of on our own efforts. Prayer also reminds us of God’s absolute love for us and His constant presence in our lives. Lastly prayer acknowledges that we must trust God with our lives.
When we pray and focus on all we have to rejoice over in our lives, somehow our worries seem less. When we come to realize how much God loves and cares for us, His love seems to flow to of us and into others. May we learn to take it all to God in prayer. May we learn to trust in His steadfast love for us. Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.
Scripture reference: Philippians 4: 4-7