By Dave Dussault
Northpoint Prayer Ministries
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7
Hello Northpoint Family, There’s an old church saying: “To dwell above with the saints we love, oh that will be glory! But to dwell below with the saints we know, well … that’s another story.” Take the little Baptist church I grew up in. It split off from one across town because of conflict over the pastor. And of course, it was “their” fault! Even the church Paul planted in Philippi had its conflicts. But conflict is more than a church problem. It’s a human problem—the backstory of every life. Conflict fills the news and haunts every relationship. It’s as old as Cain and Able and as near as your next-door neighbor—maybe nearer. Clearly, the answer to the famous question is, “No! We can’t all just get along.”
According to James 4:1, what troubles us is that our passions are at war within us. And two questions deeply unsettle us. “Who’s in control?” and “How can I be sure I’ll get what I want?” The answer is very simple, in essence. Resting and rejoicing in the Lord brings peace and unity. But the process of receiving God’s peace in our struggles requires the power of Almighty God.
Joy and peace involve releasing as well as receiving. When we let our reasonableness be known to everyone, we let go of our personal demands on God and others. We’re anxious about nothing when we turn fears and anxieties into prayer and trust God to help. The process involves …
• Prayer addressing God directly and telling Him all we need,
• Supplication that seeks Him earnestly to meet our urgent needs,
• Thanksgiving which looks to Him gratefully, knowing that God owes us nothing but graciously gives us all things (Romans 8:32),
• Letting our requests be known to God by entrusting our specific needs into His hands, confident that He will meet them all.
These habits connect us with the divine realities that direct the events of this world and our lives. They bring peace, not so much from the assurance we’ll get what we want, but from the confidence that God is good and is sure to bring about what is good for us.
Confidence like Abraham had when he walked up Mount Moriah with his son Isaac, a bundle of wood, a small fire, and a knife to make his sacrifice. Or the awesome, mysterious, agonizing peace that enabled Jesus to submit to His Father’s will, knowing what His agony would accomplish and looking to the glory His obedience would bring (Hebrews 12:1-2). And the confidence that’s taking Northpoint through an extended time of growth, challenge, difficulty, and loss.
Too often, we tie peace to an expectation that we’ll get exactly what we ask for. But the peace prayer brings comes from realizing God’s actual presence with us and resting in the certainty that He will accomplish His purposes, which are always good.
And, they are always to the praise of His glory.
Northpoint Prayer Ministries