“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Philippians 4:6 (KJV)
I don’t know about you, but I grew up hearing, “Be careful.” I was supposed to “be careful” about many things that could hurt me in some way. Sometimes, it felt like I couldn’t or shouldn’t do anything, because I was always supposed to “be careful”. Have you been told to “be careful” before? Have you told anyone to “be careful” before?
Now, we see that Paul is telling us to “be careful for nothing”. Hmmm. That is different. So, why is it so different? Why do some of us grow up hearing “be careful” and now see that Paul said not to “be careful’?
Well, parents want to protect their children from danger. They mean well, when they say, “be careful”, but often that isn’t the most healthy and productive statement. Many times, children are more capable than we think and are in less danger than we fear. Sometimes it is better to say, “slow down, so you don’t slip on the wet floor” or “when you climb, make sure you hang onto something, so you don’t fall.” You aren’t teaching the child to “fear” something or not to try something that could be out of their comfort zone, you are just making him or her aware of the danger and giving guidance in awareness and ways that could make it less dangerous. (I came across a nice blog post here, by Let Grow, if you would like to further research this train of thought.)
This concept of being careful is also misguided with our prayers. Often times we under estimate God’s power or willingness to give us good things. We think, “Nothing good ever happens to me, I can’t ask for something so nice. I will never get it.” God wants to give us good things. He can and will care for us much better than any human parent could or would.
Yet, it isn’t just what we ask for in prayer, it is also how we ask. Sometimes we tend to ask sort of timidly, not sure of the results, or demand like a laundry list of things that we want accomplished as if we were entitled. None of the above are very respectful, reverent, or loving of God. We are to ask without being afraid of whether or not God can do it, because he most definitely can. We are to ask with a humble and thankful heart. We are to thank God for His love and blessings even before we see it and trust that it is on its way. We are to ask for things that are in alignment with God’s will for us.
In the example of parenting and in the example of prayer, the words “be careful” are more destructive than uplifting and supportive. They can bring fear, confusion, distrust, and other negative effects. Yet, we are called to reach outside of our comfort zone and rely on God. We may have to “be careful” in specific ways such as “not get too close to the fire” or “go slow on the wet floor, so we don’t slip”. We don’t have the power to still the winds, calm the storm, and move mountains. But with God, all things are possible. God doesn’t have to be careful. And, when we go to God, we don’t have to be careful, if we go with a right heart in alignment with His will.
Thank you for this day. Thank you for your infinite wisdom, love, and care. You are an awesome God capable of many and all things. Help us to “be careful for nothing” as we pray. Help us to pray with all humbleness, supplication, and thanksgiving. Help us to pray for things in alignment with you will for us and with a right heart. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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Reflective questions for Philippians 4:6 (KJV):
*What does Philippians 4:6 mean to me?
*When I pray, am I afraid to pray for awesome things?
*Do I under estimate God’s capability and willingness to give me wonderful
things, when I pray?
*Do I pray with thanksgiving and a humble heart?
*Do I say, “be careful” to others?
Now, it is your turn.
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This is Jodi. I am so glad you are here! I am a Christian and life-long learner. I enjoy sharing and encouraging others. I pray you are blessed by this blog. Thank you for being here.