The Secret of Asking in Philippians 4:6
We can only gain
the peace of God
when we enter into an
Many Christians appreciate Philippians 4:6 as one of their favorite Bible verses, because it speaks of how we may find peace amidst our difficult situations:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
As we pray in this way we will experience what we find in the next verse:
…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 4:7
To fully appreciate what Paul is telling us, however, it helps to see that there is a secret in this verse; we can find it in the clause “let your requests be made known to God.” That is, the word for “to” here is not a simple Greek word for “to,” but the preposition, pros.
Many years ago I heard a dear brother who was quite a Greek scholar expound on this preposition; he was sharing about how it is used in John 1:1, where it says that “the Word was with [pros] God.”
According to this brother, pros is actually shorthand for the Greek phrase, prosōpon pros prosōpon, meaning “face to face” (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12). He shared that the use of this preposition in John 1:1 indicates that, in eternity past, the Father and the Son existed in an infinitely sweet, harmonious, intimate, “face to face” fellowship with each other.
In his Word Studies, Vincent says of pros, as it is used in John 1:1, that it indicates “a living union and communion”; later he goes on to say:
Thus, John’s statement is that the divine Word not only abode with the Father from all eternity, but was in the living, active relation of communion with Him.
So, by using this preposition in the same way in Philippians 4:6, Paul is showing us how we should come to God so that we may gain the peace of God. That is, we should not simply present a list of requests to Him; Paul does not say, “tell God what you need.” Rather, as His beloved children, we must first enter into such a intimate, even “face to face,” fellowship with God.
Then, as we open to the Lord, we will very naturally “let our requests be made known to Him.” And in such a fellowship, surely “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,” will guard our “hearts and our thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
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— 17 August 2022 —