Nebuchadnezzar was one of the greatest conquerors in the history of our world. He came to dominate the people of many nations. He possessed power, fame, and wealth. At one point, he even considered himself to be a god. But, like so many others, he lacked the one thing he needed the most: peace. His insecurities wouldn’t allow him to be at peace with himself. So how could he be at peace with others? He was a man who was unhappy with himself and hostile toward the people around him. Can you relate?
Nubuchadnezzar never truly discovered the peace that could’ve been found had he surrendered his life to God. He did everything he could to maintain his power over others. Remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? When they walked out of the fiery furnace unscathed, Nebuchadnezzar realized that he’d been thwarted by God. He also saw that the three who surrendered their lives to God had far greater power at their disposal than even he had. Despite his recognition of God’s power, however, the king’s pride continued to get the best of him.
Nebuchadnezzar continued to brag about his greatness and claimed that he alone was responsible for the great city of Babylon. He refused to recognize that all power’even his power’was granted by God. Subsequently he never understood the blessing of peace that comes with surrendering to God. Do you know this blessing of peace?
Here’s a great principle of prayer: You can do a great deal for people after you pray for them but little of lasting value until you pray for them.
I don’t think I need to argue about the value of praying for your spouse, kids, and friends. But sometimes in our busy culture it’s tough to clear your mind and get started. So let’s look to a man who knew the value of prayer. The apostle Paul begins many of his letters with a helpful pattern.
If you look at his letter to the Philippians, for instance, you’ll see it begins with a blessing of grace and peace. Grace is the reason for our salvation and peace is the result. Paul then gives thanks for the Philippian believers. Cherish the work that God’s doing in and through others. Next Paul makes requests to aid the spiritual growth of his friends. He wants them to grow in their love, knowledge, and understanding of Christ. Last, Paul prays that they’d behave in a manner that honors God in light of coming judgment. This isn’t a fear tactic but a reminder to live for the ultimate goal of heaven, not the short-term rewards of comfort and pleasure.
God loves it when we come to him in prayer. Will you select one person that God has placed on your heart, and write a prayer for them? For help, look to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Forgiving those who’ve committed wrongs against you doesn’t necessarily guarantee and easier life. You may still have to deal with a difficult boss, wife, in-laws, or kids. You still have to deal with the every day stresses of life. There are pressures beyond your control that will wear you down if you aren’t careful to release them to God. So what can you do?
Our brother in Christ, the apostle Paul, gave us a strategy to help us deal with the troubles of daily life. He wrote: ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:6-7).
This verse gives you the image of a guard patrolling your heart and mind. When the guard of prayer is in place it will keep out the pressing anxieties of life. If this guard isn’t in place, pain and worry will result.
What pressures are weighing on you? Are you talking to God about them or are you numbing yourself through things like video games, porn, alcohol, overeating, or overspending? Just as you must continually forgive, you also have to continually release your worries and specific needs to God. He will, in turn, protect you and give you the peace that passes all understanding.