You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2
The gleeful shouts arising from our basement came from my wife, Shirley. For hours she’d wrestled with a newsletter project, and she was ready to be done with it. In her anxiety and uncertainty about how to move forward, she prayed for God’s help. She also reached out to Facebook friends and soon the project was completed—a team effort.
While a newsletter project is a little thing in life, small (and not so small) things can bring about worry or anxiousness. Perhaps you’re a parent walking through the stages of childrearing for the first time; a student facing newfound academic challenges; a person grieving the loss of a loved one; or someone experiencing a home, work, or ministry challenge. Sometimes we’re needlessly on edge because we don’t ask God for help (James 4:2).
Paul pointed the followers of Jesus in Philippi and us to our first line of defense in times of need: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). When life gets complicated, we need reminders like the one from the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”:
Oh what peace we often forfeit,
oh what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry,
everything to God in prayer.
And perhaps in our asking God for help, He’ll lead us to ask people who can assist us.
What situations challenge you that you can bring to God in prayer? Why do you hesitate to ask Him or others for help?
Dear God, forgive me for not bringing my burdens to You in prayer. Help me to reach out to others and ask for help too.
At this point in his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul begins a somewhat lengthy conclusion. Despite the admonishment he’s just given to the two quarreling church members, Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2), his tone remains warm and relational. The crux of the passage is this: “The Lord is near” (v. 5). The reason we can rejoice in any situation (v. 4), the reason we can “let [our] gentleness be evident to all,” the reason we can obey Paul’s exhortation not to “be anxious about anything” (v. 6) is because Jesus is near. Scholars debate whether this means His return is near or if Paul means He’s close to us. Either interpretation should have a similar effect for our understanding. He’s with us via the Holy Spirit, and He promises to return for us (John 14:3).