Do not worry

Daily Reading for July 2

“Do not worry about anything,” Paul writes to the Philippians, and then continues, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God” (4:6). This compact direction contains some very specific words about developing a life of prayer in the face of debilitating distractions. To begin with, Paul uses two words for prayer, one general and one particular. The general word proseuche refers to the overall process of praying. You do this when you simply place yourself consciously in the presence of God. It may or may not involve words. Thanksgiving, confession, intercession, praise, meditation, and contemplation are all included under the heading of proseuche, and when you pray you may do all, some, or none of these things. . . . In other words, prayer does not necessarily accomplish anything, at least anything of immediate benefit. When you pray, you’re hanging out with God, and that’s a sufficient end in itself.

The second word, deesis, has a narrower focus. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates it as “supplication,” and that captures something of the flavor. It has to do with bringing particular requests to God’s attention. Paul says that we rid ourselves of anxiety by turning over to God the source of those anxieties, presenting him our supplications. . . . Both Paul and Jesus urge us to bring our deepest concerns to God, to place them in the Father’s care, and to leave both the results and the timing to him.

From Joy in Disguise: Meeting Jesus in the Dark Times by Edward S. Little. Copyright © 2009. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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