Peace Through Prayer

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you (NIV).

God convicted me yesterday. You see, I had my day all planned out. I was going to get 100% caught up on work. Then I was going to write my blog post while enjoying a cup of coffee. My baby daughter was going to nap when I expected her to. I was excited about this day. There were goals to conquer, and I was ready to do it.

It turns out things didn’t go as I had planned. As I failed to follow the worldless directions while building a piece of IKEA furniture, my dog attacked the parts I had organized on the floor. My daughter, who I thought was napping, started screaming out of the blue. The work that I had set goals to accomplish for the day never got done. It was a circus.

At first, I felt frustration taking hold of me, but God stopped me at that moment and asked me to pray. I did. He flooded me with a peace that I didn’t think I would find amid the chaos. 

God stopped me in that moment and asked me to pray.

We grew up believing that we have control of things. Yes, we have free will and can work hard to make things happen for us. Ultimately though, curveballs are thrown at us that no amount of preparation or hard work can help us dodge. 

These are life’s tragedies. We will all encounter them in varying degrees. How we respond to them will dictate the course of our life. They will make or break us. We must find refuge in God’s peace. But what is that peace, and how are we to capture it?

Peace is the acceptance that we are not in control. Achieving this is challenging because we want to have a tight grip on our fate. Not having that causes us great anxiety. But we have hope because we have faith in the One who is in control! 

Peace is the acceptance that we are not in control.

The kind of peace that God offers reassures us that everything will be ok. It pierces through even our darkest moments. It doesn’t mean that we won’t grieve, and it doesn’t mean we won’t feel pain. It is the difference between being broken and having the strength to carry on. It’s the mindset that reminds you of God’s promise that He will redeem all.

Isaiah 26:3 reminds us that all we need to receive this peace is steadfast trust in God. Through our faith, He will continually renew our minds and grant us peace as we’ve never known. This peace will not only carry us through our most challenging trails but also through stressful days, like the one I had yesterday. 

He will continually renew our minds and grant us peace as we’ve never known.

Saturate your day in prayer, and ask God for the peace that only He can provide. Ask Him how to teach you how to keep your mind steadfast on Him, so that you can tackle everything the day brings. 

The Truth About Sex

Song of Solomon 2:16

My love is mine, and I am his (NLT)

God thinks sex is awesome. So awesome that He decided to make it the only way that we bring new life into this world. No matter how much we may try to avoid the topic sometimes or treat it as taboo, there is no denying that how we view sex is critical. It is an integral part of our reality and a universal truth of human existence. I fear we don’t teach about it enough.

For my fellow Christians, I have a question: Do we want our children to learn about sex from the church or the world around them? I understand the awkwardness of having these conversations, and I understand the hesitancy to speak about it much at church, but it is essential. If we don’t teach our youth about sex, somebody else will. Who do you want them hearing about it from?

If we don’t teach our youth about sex, somebody else will. Who do you want them hearing about it from?

To do this, we ourselves must have a firm grasp on what the truth about sex is. A lot of us don’t know what to say. Our parents perhaps never said much themselves on the matter besides, “don’t do it.” Telling your kids not to do something is not going to stop them from doing it, plain and simple. The universal question of why they shouldn’t be doing it is much more important to express. Through that, you can help them craft a worldview where they view sex with the reverence, respect, and beauty that it deserves.

Do you even know what the Bible says the truth about sex is? Sex is an expression of the oneness in marriage: “and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one” (Mark 10:8, NLT). It is two people, who have made a life-long commitment to one another, expressing the image of God together and reflecting it more clearly. Think about it. Men and women are both different, but both have the image of God within them. What happens when they join as one? They reflect that image more fully! Sex in marriage is a physical expression of this truth. We find power in living out truth in a physical way. That’s what we do in worship. We are acting out our faith in a physical way, praising God with our bodies. Isn’t sex the same way? So think of it as an act of worship to God.

In contrast to this, the world promotes sex as a pleasure, something we can indulge in with whoever we want. Millions of TV shows, movies, magazines, etc. promote it as far, far less than what it truly is. This is what our youth is seeing and what is shaping their perception of sex. They are being robbed of seeing the true value, the true fulfillment, and the true significance that it holds. That’s why so many grow up ending up very hurt in their relationships and struggling to ever find lasting happiness in love.

What God wants us to find in sex is lifelong love, security, and fulfillment. God wants to shape our minds to see sex as a complete giving of one’s self to their spouse, and the receiving of the other in return. It is a beautiful way to say, “I give myself up to live for you” while your spouse says the same. It can serve as a reminder of how to live this out in our everyday lives as well, putting the needs of your spouse before your own. That’s why the Bible says, “Do not deprive each other of sexual relations” (1 Corinthians 7:5). It’s a gentle nudge to focus on the needs of your spouse before your own. It is a reminder to continually return to the love that sparked your relationship in the first place. It helps us never to forget that sex is not only an act of receiving but also of giving. This mutual giving and receiving serves to strengthen our bonds with our spouse.

What God wants us to find in sex is lifelong love, security, and fulfillment.

I challenge you to ask God to reshape the way that you view sex and help to teach you how to express it healthily so that we can educate each other and our youth as the church. Let us together remind the world of the true value that sex holds, instead of diminishing its worth so greatly.

Note: if you like what you read, check out these other articles on love and marriage!

Does True Love Exist?

Why Marriage Matters

How to Heal a Broken Heart

Why is Prayer Important?

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (NIV)

I remember as a child I never liked to sleep. My parents would put me to bed, and the second they were out of the room I was out of my bed and right behind them. When I finally did decide to stay in bed, I’d often just lay there awake, completely absorbed in my own thoughts. I have a peculiar mind, and to this day can never get bored as I can find endless things to ponder the intricacies of.

In my bedroom as a child, I had a picture on the wall that my mother cross-stitched for me. It has a prayer on it: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” When I was anxious, I would read this over and over again. It soothed me, and was one of the few things that helped me get to sleep.

What sort of imagery comes to your mind when you think of prayer? For me, it was always kneeling at my bedside, hands folded, repeating one of the classic prayers, like the one I grew up with on my wall as a child. If this is still all that comes to your mind when you think of prayer, I am here to tell you that prayer is astronomically more than this!

In our present day and age, we live in a constant battle against anxiety. We live in a constant pressure to preform, and keep up with the ever-changing world around us. There are deadlines to meet, bills to pay, and work to get done. We are in desperate need of peace, but peace is so hard to find.

We are in desperate need of peace, but peace is so hard to find.

In Philippians 4 Paul writes about prayer. He tells us that prayer, when spoken with an attitude of thanksgiving, will give us peace which “transcends all understanding.” He continues on to say this peace will guard our hearts and minds.

How do we achieve this kind of result in our prayer? While the prayer I repeated as a child helped to soothe me, its impact ended there. Life is more complicated now, and we need more than simple soothing. The Bible tells us that we need to pray in “every situation.” Does this mean we are to be on our knees, hand-folded and eyes closed in every moment of our lives?

No, that is obviously silly. What we need to do is cultivate an attitude of prayer in our everyday lives. Think of prayer more as an overall mindset that determines your actions rather than a particular action you take in a certain moment. Practically, this means striving towards taking each and every thought that passes through your mind, and presenting it to God in conversation. Ask Him to shape all that you think about. As you grow in this discipline He will teach you about Him, yourself, and the world around you in ways you never imagined before. He will also shape your attitude and mindset towards one of peace and thanksgiving in all circumstances.

Why is prayer important? Because it can change our world, one life at a time.