Greg Spires – Teaching Pastor
Rest of Peace
The task of getting an infant to sleep can be a tricky job. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how tired the child is. They just don’t want to go to sleep. The parent wants their child to get the rest they need. Not only that, the parent might be hoping the baby will sleep so they can get some rest themselves! Or, the parent can finally get some things done that were impossible to do while keeping an eye on their little one.
The child seems to know all the tricks. We rock them, sing to them, and sit in the chair next to them. All the while, they will squirm, laugh, cry, and sit up in the bed, all to avoid going to sleep. Finally, after what seems like forever, the child lays down, and their eyelids start to close. But, just as their eyes are almost closed, they will open them again, to check to make sure their parent is still there. The baby seems to want to know that their parent will stay there and watch over them while they sleep. Then, after countless cycles of eyes closing and opening again, the child is assured they aren’t alone, and they fall asleep.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “…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.” We discover in these verses that prayer serves a purpose that we may not have noticed. The purpose is to bring us peace as we trust that God is near.
Most of the time, when we think about prayer, we might think the goal of prayer is for God to answer. We want God to give us what we are asking for – otherwise, we wouldn’t be asking for it. Certainly, the Bible makes it clear God does answer our prayers. However, the goal of prayer is not primarily getting an answer from God. As the verse above makes clear, the goal of prayer is peace.
So how do we have peace? Peace only comes from God. Peace is only possible in the presence of God. Peace is only possible in a relationship with God. There is nothing in this world we could gain that will give us peace. Therefore, prayer can sometimes frustrate us. We believe if God said yes to our prayer, we would have peace. The problem with this way of thinking is it means we believe peace comes from the thing we are praying for instead of recognizing that peace only comes from God whom we pray to.
Think back to that baby going to sleep, which keeps opening their eyes to make sure their parent is there. In a sense, that is what prayer is. Prayer is us reaching out to make sure God is still there, and He always is. How often does that little baby peek out to see if someone is still there? As many times as needed to be able to rest in the peace of their presence.
How much should we pray? We should pray until we have peace in the nearness of God. What if peace doesn’t come? Keep reaching out, keep peeking to see if God is there. Wrestle with Him in prayer the way Jacob wrestled with Him until God answered (Genesis 32). The promise of Philippians 4:7 is clear: when we pray, God will give us His peace. He may not give us what we ask for, but He will give us peace. Let’s be bold and keep praying until we have it!
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Philippians 4:4-9.
See you Sunday,