Philippians 4:6…Breaking it down

A little over 2 months ago, my mom was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. Since then, there have been a variety of scans and tests; and what feels like one delay after another. Finally, when it seemed as though treatment was ready to begin, her radiologist ordered a brain MRI because he noted that the one that had been done in the hospital had not been done properly.

On the morning of her MRI, I turned to scripture that would help alleviate the anxiety that I sensed was seeping in. The verse that God pointed me to was Philippians 4:6. “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

I read the words; I prayed the words;  I studied and meditated on the words.

Verse 6:  begins by telling us what not to be anxious about:

“do not be anxious about anything; ( i.e. ‘ANY’ SINGLE THING):

(In the present circumstance He was telling me: do NOT be ANXIOUS about the MRI; do NOT be ANXIOUS about the DIAGNOSIS of LUNG CANCER..do NOT be ANXIOUS….. [PERIOD]). Why? Because, no matter how infinitely big the crisis may be, it is NEVER TOO BIG for HIM.) The verse continues:

“but in everything: ( i.e. ‘EVERY’ SINGLE THING):

the inclusion of these 3 words serves as a reminder that just as nothing is too big for Him neither is anything too SMALL. Thus, any time we are uncertain we should seek Him.

For which things should we seek Him? For EVERY SINGLE THING.

And in what manner should we seek him?

The verse tells us this too:

“with thanksgiving (with GRATITUDE). This directive of “thanksgiving” is not there by accident. It is there to remind us that when we pray we need to acknowledge and recognize all which is “good” in and around us; all of which is provided solely by and because of the grace of God.

Next, I looked up the words prayer and supplication. 

Prayer:  a solemn request for help (solemn – serious, formal)

Supplication: the action of asking or begging for something humbly  or earnestly

I break it down a little more:

Humbly: acting in a subservient or subordinate capacity; as a person under authority or control of another.

Earnestly: to do something with sincerity or seriousness

Sincerity: with honest of mind

I look again and note that I had passed over the word “and” which is nestled between the words “prayer” and “supplication”.

It doesn’t just say “by prayer”. It doesn’t just say “by supplication”. It also doesn’t say by prayer or supplication;

It says by prayer AND supplication.

This connecting of the words tells us that He desires us to come to Him not just solemnly, in a serious, formal manner; but also with a begging [non-demanding], sincerity that humbly acknowledges His authority and control over us and the situation.

I start putting Verse 6 back together while simultaneoulsy keeping it broken out:

do not be anxious about anything

but in everything

by prayer and supplication

with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.

Such a seemingly simple verse, yet truly packed with more than I ever realized.  Now, when I read or speak the verse I do so with more thoughtfulness. And when I make my requests known to Him, I can feel His Spirit moving within me in a much more real and powerful way. I used to read it solely as a verse that was telling me “what” to do; completely ignoring the importance of all the instruction of the “when” and “how” that is there.

I don’t know what the future holds for my mom; but I do know that God has spoken this verse with incredibly beautiful detail that I will follow today and forevermore.

May you also find the above useful in making your requests known to Him. ❤️

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