Philippians

This devotional is written by Aly Foy. Aly recently moved into a flat with a garden and doesn't know anything about plants. If you have gardening tips, please help her. 

Philippians 4:1-9

Closing Appeal for Steadfastness and Unity

 4 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Final Exhortations 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

Anxiety is hard. Believe me, I know. Telling me "don't be anxious" is certainly not going to make my heart stop pounding and my breath slow down. If we're at that point, any cognitive argument against anxiety is not going to help.

So what is?

When we pray, we are connecting to God in a way that isn't just in our brains or bodies. We are communicating to Him from deep in our spirit, in a place that is only ours. We get to that place when we experience prayer fully, with our whole being -

1) Cognitively - by reading the Bible, understanding the words, and expressing our thanksgiving and petitions vocally; 2) Physically - by focusing on our breath and paying attention to the sensations in our body; 3) Spiritually - by diving into that inner space with God through listening to Him.

It's hard to describe a powerful experience with the Spirit to someone else, isn't it? There's something about that real connection that calms in a way that no external thing - words, actions, other people - can.

Try it - begin a prayer with praise and worship. Try to experience it in all three ways - acknowledge what God has done for you, and connect intellectually with why you are grateful to Him. Then start to move your body - maybe by walking, or maybe dance and sing your favourite worship song! Or simply move your breath in and out. Then, bring your focus inward. Find that space that isn't mind or body that only you and God know. Don't try to describe it or change it. Ask God for a moment of peace in this space with Him.

You are putting into practice all those true, pure, lovely things, and because of that, the God of peace WILL be with you.

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