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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, December 27, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Philippians 4:4–7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry 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. (NRSV)

Have your holiday anxieties disappeared now that Christmas is past? Those uncertainties about getting everything done, balancing work and Christmas preparation, or wondering if everyone will like your gifts? The Apostle Paul certainly had worries when he wrote this epistle to fellow Christians in Philippi. He was in prison, beaten and in chains, and facing death. Yet this remarkable instruction to them, known as the Epistle to Joy, demonstrates how to exult in adversity.

We live in anxious times. But as Paul makes clear, tough times require us to avoid getting discouraged and, instead, be filled with joy and rejoice that Jesus Christ is with us. Through prayer.

A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 55 percent of Americans pray daily. While they undoubtedly possess plenty of apprehensions, those who pray almost certainly recognize the power that silent, quiet prayer has on reducing unease. As Paul urges, “Do not be anxious about anything” but “present your requests to God” through prayer.

Almighty God, we don’t know what lies ahead and that often leaves us anxious and worried. Please remind us, as the Apostle Paul so eloquently counsels us, to be glad and to rejoice in each day, giving thanks through prayer and always trusting in you. Amen.

Written by Tim Schellhardt, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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