Petition with thanks (Prayer day 3)

Prayer is the means by which we recognize that we cannot and should not be concerned about things outside of our grasp, and therefore we petition God.  But if prayer is mostly about asking God for things, and less about recognizing his presence, provision and protection in our lives, our relationship with God will be poor and pitiful, leaving us anxious and tired.



Observation and reflection

Note: ‘Supplication’ means asking God for things.

  1. Analyze Paul’s instruction about prayer.
    • What should we NOT EVER do?
    • And what should we ALWAYS do?
    • What is the PROMISE in these verses?
    • What is the PREMISE to the PROMISE in this these verses?
  2. Note the words ANYTHING, EVERYTHING and ALL. How does this influence the instruction to not worry but pray?

Personal Reflections and Application

We tend to worry about things that might go wrong, and this causes anxiety in us – which is unhealthy and unhelpful.  Paul’s antidote to anxiety is simple: before we ask God for things, give thanks to God for his work in our lives.  In this way I remind myself that God is actively involved in my life everyday life.  Thanking makes us aware of God’s presence, provision and protection – reminding me that God is with me; I am not alone!  Thanksgiving stirs my faith, my joy and my hope as it lifts my eyes from the problems to my Provider.

  1. Consider the typical prayer you pray. How much of your conversation is asking God for things, and how much is recognizing God’s gracious activity in your life?
  2. Before we pray:
    • Make a list of the things that cause you anxiety – your concerns and needs. Convert those to petitions to God for help.
    • Make a list of ten things where you can clearly recognize God’s involvement in your life recently.
  3. Pray in this way:
    • First take your time to thank God for the areas where you can see his presence, provision and protection (areas of involvement) in your life. Try standing up and lift your hands when you do this!
    • Now bring your petitions to God, knowing that he is near and involved in every aspect of your life.
  4. Reflect on how you feel. Do you feel the peace of “heart and mind” that Paul promises in these verses?

The Kingdom of God – not in religious observance

The Kingdom of God is a central theme in the Bible, especially the teachings of Jesus. The aim of this devotional series is to prayerfully reflect on the Kingdom of God and its manifestation in and through my life.


Romans 14:14-21

14  I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.  15  For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.  16  So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.

17  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  19  So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  20  Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  21  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

Observation and reflection

Context: The congregation(s) in Rome were divided in their understanding of which holy days were to be observed and which foods were religiously acceptable.

Focus on verse 17.

  1. Rephrase the sentence “the reign of King Henry VI extended throughout the British Isles”.
    1. What is meant by “The Kingdom of God” in verse 17?
  2. Why (in this context) does Paul say “The Kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking
    1. Why is this an important distinction even today?
  3. Replace the following words with short phrases to describe what it means or implies in relation to “the Kingdom of God”:
    1. Eating and drinking
    2. Righteousness
    3. Peace
    4. Joy
  4. What does Paul mean by the qualifying phrase “…in the Holy Spirit”? [hint: where else does Paul write about “Holy Spirit… peace… joy”?]
  5. According to this verse:
    1. What is God’s reign like?
    2. Where does God reign?
    3. How is God’s reign extended in practice?

Application and prayer

Jesus did not come to enforce ceremonial religious observances.  He came to bring righteousness, peace and joy in our hearts and relationships.  Do you experience that?

Jesus taught us to pray God “Let Your kingdom come!”  (Matthew 6:10).

  1. In which relationship of yours do you not experience “righteousness, peace and joy”?
    1. Pray that God will work in your hearts to establish his “righteousness, peace and joy”.
    2. Make an appointment to discuss this with the other person so that there might be God’s reign may be evident in your relationship.
  2. Is there an aspect of your life that does not correspond to God’s “righteous” reign?
    1. Confess that to God and pray to God who is ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
    2. Bring that area of your life to God in prayer, asking him to create his righteousness in your heart.
  3. Is there something about your nation or neighborhood or world which upsets you (i.e. violence, corruption, perversion, poverty, etc)?  Pray for God’s Kingdom to come in “righteousness, peace and joy!”