Philippians: Peace of God



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.”



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


3.      Overview of the book of Philippians: Have each student read a chapter and summarize. Have more than 4 students? Split Chapter 2. Fewer? Have the teacher summarize the other chapters. Look for these points in the chapters:

·         Chapter 1: Christian attitude to suffering – How is God working through the suffering of St. Paul? Is all suffering bad? How does this differ from the view of our society? What is the Christian attitude to death?

·         Chapter 2: What is meant by the famous verse: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”? Who is our example in living a life of service and humility? How can WE look out for the interests of our fellow Christians? On a global scale (as did the Philippians in sending support to Paul in prison)? On a local scale in our own parish?

·         Chapter 3: Press on to righteousness – Where is OUR citizenship? What is the prize? Who can we look to as examples for how to “press on” to the prize? (the lives of St. Paul and, indeed, of all the saints).

·         Chapter 4: The prayer chapter – what do we pray for? Why? What is the result? What do we think about? Why?



4.      Scripture verse: Philippians 4:6-7 -- 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?


5.      In the book of Philippians, can you identify 3 types of prayer? Give examples of each: asking, thanking, praising.  Which types do we see in the Lord’s Prayer? Recite the Lord’s Prayer.


6.      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?


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


8.      Close with (you said it) prayer!