“… in everything by prayer and supplication …”
Those two words: “in everything.” Prayer is intended to permeate every aspect of life. This sounds extreme but not to the Apostle Paul who wrote it to the Christians in Philippi.
Philippians 4:6 (NKJV) — 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Prayer isn’t just for religious services, bedtime, mealtime, or for a crisis. Kind of like milk, it is for anytime and everywhere–“in everything.” Our prayers can reach further than we can imagine. Yes, God hears them, yet their directional influence isn’t just heavenward.
Prayers from the soul touch our heart’s affections; our heart’s direction; and our heart’s vision. They affect our virtues, priorities, habits, weaknesses, and strengths. They do this because they come from the soul, the very heart of our being, with heart-felt passion and hope.
A prayerful soul finds itself surrendering. The nature of prayer by definition surrenders to the Father’s will, the Savior’s Lordship, and the Spirit’s work–“not my will, but Thy will be done.” This day-to-day surrendering disturbs the lurking pride and self-righteousness that flatters us. The aroma of Jesus Christ conquers such foulness as the soul bows in delightful posture to the true King. A prayerful soul disturbs and undermines other similar characters (i.e., anxiety, fears, loneliness, doubt, regrets, shame, confusion) that have found hospitable quarters in our lives. Prayer from the soul to God permeates far and deep in the life of the one praying.
A prayerful soul will find the well, and within the well is the sweet waters of joy, peace, love, forgiveness, liberty, life, encouragement, inspiration, wisdom, and the abundance of our Father’s grace. This water is meant to feed into every aspect of the believer’s life. The Holy Spirit’s delight is to cause the well of living water to spring up from within each believer’s soul. Prayer taps the well and the soul drinks from its life.
Like the sun rising in the morning and creeping across the landscape, so the light of one’s dependence upon God “in everything” grows in the prayerful soul. Prayer helps the believer see his desperate dependence on God–dependence “in everything” at all times. Our relationships, occupations, education, economics, as with our growth in the knowledge of the Kingdom of God are affected by the bowing heart that is looking upward with hope. This active prayerful soul grows in the light that God is the center and source of all reality. All things are by Him and for Him, and to Him belongs all glory and honor for all that is honorable and good.
How does one’s prayers permeate every aspect of life? The simple answer is: by doing it. Recorded in Matthew 6:6, Jesus said get alone with God the Father. Be sincere; be surrendered; be simple. The easiest spiritual exercise is prayer. Grab your Bible and shut the door behind you and let your praying soul drink from the well and lay hold of the great and gracious God.