“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Phil. 4:6-7 NIV
I love these verses. I love the promise of God’s peace for my heart and mind. Just reading the words brings an inner calm I have trouble maintaining amid everyday life. I often forget the sentence before these that tells me how to get this peace my soul longs for.
I’m instructed to present my requests to God in every situation. This is so simple, but I struggle to obey. More often than not, I live like I believe doing everything on my own will bring me the peace I seek. It never does, but I can’t seem to stop this unfruitful endeavor.
As a parent, one of my deepest desires is for my children to know God personally and to seek his wisdom, love, and grace in their lives. But how are they supposed to know what that looks like if they don’t see me petitioning God for all things? Sure, I have a prayer journal, but that’s a morning routine, not a continuous open conversation with God.
So many things happen each day that provide opportunities for me to connect with God and seek his council. Which items on my to-do list should receive priority, for example? What should happen next in the novel I’m writing? Should I text someone a note of encouragement? I could ask for guidance on how to handle issues that arise in our household or the best way to connect with my spouse or children in a specific moment. There is no shortage of life events that can benefit from God’s guidance. And yet prayer is not always my first step.
I saw a glaring example of this when one of my children came home from school upset. One of their friends said some things that made them concerned that their friendship was over. Of course, it was a Friday, which meant any attempt at resolution wouldn’t happen for three days. I listened and offered physical comfort. My heart hurt for my child’s pain, memories of my own painful past with friends surfacing. I offered advice and words intended to comfort. Their father had additional sage words to share when he came home. It felt like the best we could do.
And then, on Sunday night, I prayed for my child and whatever was to come the next morning, and it hit me. I should have prayed with and for them when I first heard the news. I should have brought us both to God’s feet, where he could have provided our hearts with the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Letting that moment slip through my fingers felt like a failure. It was a reminder that I still have so far to go in my faith journey, but I hope that the memory will stay fresh in my mind so that I will choose differently the next time a similar situation arises.
On Monday, I told my child I had prayed for them and the situation. When they came home from school that day, they told me that everything had been resolved, that the friend had been dealing with something personal and apologized to my child. It was one of the potential scenarios I’d suggested on Friday night, which felt like a nod that I was partially on the right track and reinforced my desire to seek God’s wisdom first in the future.
Read the Rest over at THE GLORIOUS TABLE.