We have discussed in some detail how this letter (Philippians) updates Paul’s dearest supporters (1:3-5, 7, 4:1, 17-18) of his current circumstances (1:12-13, 19-20) and offers them encouragement for the circumstances they face (1:29-30). The encouragement Paul offers them is bound up in their joy in the Lord. He reminds them sixteen times of this kind of joy! Paul joyously poured out his heart, message, and life for the benefit of these saints (Acts 16), and he confesses that all he has done and suffered for them may well be simply to enhance their own service to God. But even if this is true, he rejoices and wants them to be glad and rejoice with him (2:17-18). No wonder, he will refer to them as his “joy and crown” in the Lord (4:1).

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philipians 4:4-7).

These four verses from Paul’s letter to the saints at Philippi hold one of the most practical commands of the entire letter for keeping a mind or attitude (cf. 2:5) that will sustain these saints with joy through all they suffer (1:29-30). The command is prayer (4:6). Prayer offers the saints an avenue of release from an anxious and worried mind, as it guards their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus with the peace of God which transcends all understanding (4:7; lit. excelling the mind of man)!

May God our Father grant all of us a prayer life that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus with the peace transcends all we can ask, imagine, or face in this life. Amen!


Jay Don