Philippians 4:6-7(ESV) – 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
O – I am told to not be anxious (or worried) about anything. BUT – in everything to present my requests to God – with prayer and supplication. WHEN I do this – God’s peace will guard my heart and mind. IT’s the kind of peace that goes beyond my understanding. I also see that my prayer and requests (supplication) MUST be made with thanksgiving – acknowledging God’s presence and understanding – NOT His answering in the way that I want, but in the way that He deems best for me. That is where the peace comes from!
A – By nature, I am a worrier. I think about the “what if’s” of life so easily! When I see that “something” could happen, I imagine all the end results that COULD happen – even if they don’t! I am told here to NOT be anxious or worried, but to present my cares to God. WITH THANKSGIVING! IN EVERYTHING! And, I need to leave it with Him. I just was reminded of that old hymn – “Take your Burden to the Lord – and leave it there…” How many times do I “take my burden to the Lord” – and – take it back?? I am told to CONTINUE to let my requests be made known to God – over and over and over. I think if I were to do that – I wouldn’t be as tempted to take them back! The capstone of this passage, though, is the peace that God gives IF and WHEN we give our cares to Him. When we present our requests to Him – with thanksgiving – He gives His peace. It’s the peace that we don’t really understand. It’s the peace that comes from beyond ourselves. It’s the peace that passes all understanding (transcends). AND – it will guard our hearts and minds. It protects them from attack or excess worrying.
6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. (Amplified Version)
P – Father God – thank You for Your perfect peace. It’s peace that I don’t always understand, but a peace that is tangible. Help me, protect me from myself, when I am tempted to worry, or “take care of things” myself. Help me to present my cares, my worries, my concerns – to You. Help me to have an attitude of thanksgiving in all those aspects of life that sometimes seem beyond my control. I need to remember to continue giving my cares to You – over and over. This passage today reminded me that You WANT me to continue to present my cares to You. Help me to be specific – and yielded to You. Thank You for Your continued reminders of Your love and Your care for me, in the daily grind of life.
I looked up this passage in the NIV Application Commentary on Biblegateway.com. It gave better understanding to the word “anxious” and the context of the scripture.
The words “be anxious” (merimnao, 4:6) can refer to being unduly concerned about anything, but it is often used in contexts where persecution is the issue.
All of this points to the context of persecution as the background for Paul’s admonitions. The Philippians were suffering under opposition from their pagan neighbors, just as Paul and Silas had suffered when among them (Acts 16:19–24; Phil. 1:28–30). Thus, just as Paul had started the admonitory section of the letter with a command for the Philippians, despite their persecution, to conduct themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel (1:27–30), so he returns to this theme at the end of the section, asking the Philippians to maintain an attitude of joy “in the Lord” at all times (v. 4; cf. 3:1), urging them to adopt toward their persecutors Christ’s approach of gentle nonretaliation (v. 5; cf. Rom. 12:17–21; 15:3; 1 Peter 2:23; 3:8–9; cf. Isa. 53:7–9), and admonishing them not to be anxious about anything (v. 6; cf. 1 Peter 5:7). Instead, they should remember that the Lord is near (v. 5; cf.3:20–21) and replace their anxiety with thankful prayer about their suffering (v. 6).
The “and” at the beginning of verse 7 is more important than it looks. It does not simply attach another statement to verses 4–6but gives the result of the thankful prayer that Paul has described in verse 6. If the Philippians follow Paul’s advice, he says, then “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” will stand like a garrison over their hearts and minds. But what is the “peace of God”? Is it an overwhelming sense of inner contentment? Is it the serenity that characterizes God himself, who is never anxious? Is it the peace (cf. Rom. 5:1) that results from God’s justifying work in Christ Jesus? Since the peace mentioned here stands in contrast to the anxiety mentioned in verse 6, it is probably an inner sense of contentment supplied by God. It transcends all understanding because the anticipated response to the persecution the Philippians are experiencing is anxiety, but just as throughout this letter Paul expects Christian behavior to break the bonds of normal behavior, so here God supplies an attitude in the face of adversity that does not fit the normal categories (cf. 2 Cor. 1:3–11). (NIV App. Commentary – biblegateway.com )