One of the great promises of the Bible is that believers can experience peace through prayer even when circumstances remain unchanged. Philippians 4:6-7 is where such a promise occurs.
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Old Testament often illustrates truths in the New Testament so we can have real life examples. It is here that Psalm 7 is very helpful. David was fleeing for his very life from King Saul who hounded him for eight long years. So David prayed, save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, v. 1. We don’t know at what point during the eight years David prayed Psalm 7, but clearly by the end of the prayer it remained unanswered. Yet David could say in the final verse of Psalm 7, I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High, v. 17. David clearly had the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. He was praising God and at peace after his prayer which still remained unanswered. How could this be?
Please not the connection between David’s thanks in Psalm 7 and with thanksgiving in the Philippians passage above. That is very key. How do we truly know when we have placed a matter in God’s hands in prayer? The answer is that we can thank God for the answer before it has been given. When we have that kind of peace that we can thank God for what He is going to do even though circumstances remain unchanged, then we have truly given the matter to Him.
Our natural tendency is to place a matter in God’s hands and then take it back again through worry and anxiety. We’ve given it to the Lord in prayer, but our anxious fear shows we have taken it back again. Our lack of peace indicates that we have not really lain our requests before the Lord confident that the matter is under His control. How did David get to that place?
The answer is found in the opening line Psalm 7 where David says O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge, v. 1. A refuge was a cave where someone could go in a thunder storm and feel safe. So David felt safe with God as His refuge and so was at peace even while fleeing from Saul. We have the same refuge but often do not feel safe even though we pray like David did. Why?
This is the first time in the Psalms that Lord (Yahweh) and God (Elohim) appear together. Yahweh speaks of God’s love and faithfulness to His children. So our refuge is a welcoming one. God invites us to come. Elohim speaks of God’s creative power. So our refuge is a strong one. God is able to act on our behalf. It is clear that David knew his God and believed that He was loving so He would care for him, and that He was powerful so He could care for him.
This is always the key, isn’t it? When we know our God and believe what He says about Himself, then we know He will care for us and can care for us. Knowledge of God + trust in God = the peace of God revealed by thanks to God. If it worked for David, it can work for us.
Your friend, seeking peace thru prayer, Pastor Brian (:-}).