Philippians: Peace of God

PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7

 

Scripture verse: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

 

Objectives:

  1. Memorize the verse – one of the best-known in Scripture.
  2. Establish a daily prayer time and prayer place.

 

Background on the book:

This letter was also written by St. Paul while he was a prisoner in Rome in AD 61-63.  The Church in Philippi had been founded by Paul around 50-51 AD during his visit on his 2nd missionary journey (Remember the jailer in the earthquake?); this was the first church on the continent of Europe! St. Luke, author of the gospel of Luke, was the priest of Philippi during its first 6 years. Paul had visited Philippi twice again during his 3rd missionary journey, AD 57-58. When the Philippians heard that Paul was in prison, they sent Epaphroditus with a gift of money to make his stay more comfortable.  While in Rome, Epaphroditus almost died, but he was healed and returned to Philippi, taking Paul’s letter back with him. Find Philippi and Rome on a map – a short journey?

 

Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer. What about the Lord’s Prayer?

 

2.   Scriptural basis: Philippians 4:6-7, James 5:13-16, Psalm 66:18-20, Matthew 6:7-19, 7:7-11, I Timothy 2:1-3, I John 5:14-15

 

  1. Review the background of the book. Had God answered Paul’s prayers for Epaphroditus?

 

  1. Have the students recall several anxious moments in the Old Testament, when God answered prayer (Abraham with Isaac, Joseph in the pit, the 3 youths in the fire, Daniel in the lion’s den, Hannah and Samuel, Jonah – to name a few) What about Joachim and Anna and Elizabeth and Zachariah?

 

  1. In the Psalms, can you identify 4 types of prayer? Give examples of each: asking, thanking, praising, and complaining (?) Does Orthodox prayer include prayer to seek a mystical union with God? (No, that represents New Age thinking, a pervasive deception today.) Which types do we see in the Lord’s Prayer?

 

  1. What priority do we give to prayer?

If we list the most important tasks of each day, would the list include spending time in prayer? Spending time with family? Looking good? Spending time with friends? Having a good time?

Do people who pray have happier lives than those who don’t? Do we enjoy being anxious? What happens to anxiety when we pray?

How can we make liturgical prayer more than “meaningless repetitions”? Read through the Litany; what types of prayer do we see? Anyone or anything left out? If we prayed in Church, do we have to pray at home, too? What are the two absolutely essential steps the saints have taught us for beginning prayer? (Be regular. Be brief.) Commit these to memory. What hope is there for someone who has great difficulty praying regularly? Where can we pray? When can we pray? Where and when do you pray?

 

  1. Make plans for a private prayer time and place at home this week. Be regular and brief!

 

  1. Close with (you said it) prayer!