Useful Bible Studies > Philippians Commentary > chapter 4
God is active and powerful in this world, and he cares about his people and their difficulties (1 Peter 5:7). Therefore, they should not allow themselves to become anxious about the future (Matthew 6:25-34). Instead, in every situation, they should trust God to provide for them (4:19).
Our thoughts about such matters can easily become a cause of worry. Paul urges us, instead, to make them reasons for prayer.
There are different types of prayer, and Paul uses four different words for prayer here. His first word is the general word for prayer. In our general prayers, we praise God and we confess our wrong and evil deeds to him. We also pray for particular matters and we give thanks to God. Those are the meaning of Paul’s second and third words; they are not separate from prayer, but part of it. Even our prayers for particular difficulties can be a way to praise God; in such prayers, we should express the fact that we depend completely upon him. We ask for those things because we remember his kindness and goodness. Therefore, in all our prayers, we give thanks to God for what he has done in the past. So, we trust God for his help in the future, and we thank him for his goodness in the past.
Paul’s last word for prayer simply means requests, the things that we ask for. God already knows these things, of course, but we choose to tell him about our problems. We do it because we are not trusting in ourselves to deal with these situations. If we try to trust in ourselves, we will soon begin to worry. Instead, we depend upon God. We know that we need his help; we know that he is able to answer our prayers (Mark 11:22-24; 1 John 5:14-15).
Next part: How to know the peace that God gives (Philippians 4:7)
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© 2020, Keith Simons.