5. Prayer guides us on a path to peace
“Do not worry about anything, but in every situation bring your requests before God through prayer and petition with thanksgiving. And the peace of God, which is beyond understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus ”(Philippians 4: 6, 7)
At the beginning of my marriage, my always calm husband had a habit of telling me to “relax” about situations that I was, well, hot about. Of course, this had exactly the opposite effect on my mood and feelings, and as a wise man he ended up removing this phrase from his marriage vocabulary.
I am so grateful that God does not tell us in Philippians 4: 6 to “just relax.” In his big love letter, he does not let “be afraid of anything” fall and then move on to a new topic. Instead, he offers us an alternative to worry: prayer. We start from a position of fear, but don’t camp out there. We keep walking down the street, moving alongside the prayer that, together with a detour of gratitude, will eventually lead us to peace.
6. Prayer unites us as bodies
“They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and the community, the breaking of bread and prayer. Everyone was in awe of the many miracles and signs the apostles performed. All believers were together and had everything in common ”(Acts 2: 42-44)
When my small country church cried out to God a few years ago to heal one of us, we shared a belief in the power of prayer and love for our brother. God did not respond to our request for his earthly healing, but prayer for him nonetheless united us in heart and purpose. We went through this tragedy together in prayer. It’s now part of our shared history, a bond point that we look back on.
The body of Christ has much to divide, and the enemy has gained ample ground in this area in recent years. There are few things that turn unbelievers away from the church door, like the disagreement behind that door, but perhaps nothing attracts them like a united family they would like to be a part of. Prayer can bring the lost, the broken, the injured in the door, and once it’s in it can keep it there.