Twilight: The Practice of Prayer
by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Phil. 4:6).
The four verses we read for today speak in a compelling way about the practice of piety (or Christian spirituality). We should spend considerable time meditating on them. Three words are outstanding: joy, prayer, and peace.
Paul presents prayer as the remedy to anxiety. "Do not be anxious about anything, but ... pray." Anxiety is worry or insecurity that comes from a lack of confidence in God.
Sometimes we have cause to worry. And worry will not be gone until the cause is removed. In such cases our works and our prayers focus on the removal of the reason for our concern.
For all forms of anxiety, however, the Bible recommends prayer. In order for prayer to help us, it should be Christian prayer, prayer that begins with God. As children of the heavenly Father, our first concern is that God's name is hallowed and his will done. Then we use words, "prayer and petition;' to tell God what our "requests" are. Although God knows our needs, he wants us to speak them.
And that's not all. We must do it "with thanksgiving." For it is very obvious that our Father in heaven has not forgotten us. Already we have received much. Therefore we acknowledge gratefully what our God has given whenever we ask for something new.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version
Be sure to read the "Preface" and the "Acknowledgments" by the author.