Paul returns to his theme of joy twice in this section (Phil 4:1, 4). He tries his hand at solving a personal conflict from a distance: “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord”(Phil 4:2). The fact that the letter is intended to be read publicly makes this rebuke especially powerful. In personal disputes, who is right is not nearly as important as a willingness to “agree in the Lord.”
Paul instructs the Philippians about their inner lives: “Do not be anxious about anything, but 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”(Phil 4:6-7). God wants anxiety to be channeled into prayer. We combine our requests of God with thanksgiving, appreciating what we already have. Even if God does not directly or immediately answer our prayers, we will now have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” to “guard (our) hearts and (our) minds”(Phil 4:7). God wants Christians to be at peace, not anxious, and promises that he will give peace to those who bring their needs to him. We may not be able to understand all the ways this works, but Paul urges us to try it anyway.
Anxiety and the search for peace are pressing concerns for all of us. Paul’s teaching helps us be constructive. What are we thankful for? What exactly do we want God to do for us? When we pray with this focus, we move from the realm of unfocused anxiety toward God’s peace.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I pray my worries?
One Thing to Pray For: God to relieve our anxiety and give us his peace