“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
I’m so excited for this month’s prayer challenge! I believe that the Lord will use this prayer to give you a healthier mind, body, and spirit. I also believe that He will use it to encourage and motivate you to dive deeper into your Bible and to fill you with His peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
If you’ve never taken part in one of our Prayer Challenges before, you can learn more about the 4 Week Prayer Challenges and what it means to “Pray The Scriptures” here.
Whether we realize it or not, our thoughts and perspectives can greatly impact our outlook on life, our health, and our relationships with God. This mind, body, and spirit connection has been biologically wired within us by our Creator. God intricately and intimately made each of us when we were in our mothers’ wombs. He knows perfectly how everything in our bodies work and how everything works perfectly together. He knows what we need for our entire well-being, and He loves us so much that His Word is bursting with wisdom on how to live a long, happy, and healthy life in Christ:
“Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many…My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:10, 20-26). “He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he. The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning. Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it….Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:18-25). And in Proverbs 17:22, we are told that “a merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
There is even scientific research that confirms what God’s Word says on this matter. Studies have found that negative emotions such as anger, fear, frustration, hostility, stress, and cynicism have been linked to a greater risk of dementia, heart disease, stroke, and a weakened immune system. While it’s also been found that those who think more positively tend to have longer lives, lower rates of depression, better psychological and physical well-being, and better heart health. It should come as no surprise that God already knew this, in His Word He even tells us to “cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm” (Psalm 37:8).
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A Prayer About What We Choose To Focus On
Everyday, over the next four weeks, we will be praying Philippians 4:8, which tells us to focus on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” As I was preparing this month’s challenge, I decided to read through the entire book of Philippians in order to gain a better understanding of the verse’s context, and to see if I could discover some common themes throughout the book that I could share with you. As I read, two seemingly contradictory situations stood out to me that I know will bless you: although the apostle Paul was imprisoned at the time he wrote to the people of Philippi, his letter is bursting with joy.
He does’t complain about his situation nor is he filled with pity for himself. His thoughts and his heart are not consumed with what is happening around him or what might happen. Instead, his mind, eyes, and heart are steadfastly fixed on Jesus: “But I want you to know brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear…Christ will be magnified in my body whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain ” (Philippians 1:12-14, 19-23).
At a time when it would have been easy for Paul to focus on the people who had wronged him and everything negative happening in his life (he was confined to his house, he couldn’t travel and preach, his freedom was stripped, and it was likely that he would be put to death just like many other Christians before him), he chose to mediate on what was true, noble, just, pure, and lovely. He chose to meditate on God and the expansion of God’s kingdom. As followers of Christ, we are commanded to do the exact same thing: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
Even though the apostle Paul was not content with his circumstances (no one wants to be imprisoned), he was able to find contentment in his circumstances by focusing on Jesus: “For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). When to the outside world Paul’s situation may have seemed hopeless, Paul was able to find hope and joy in what God had in store for his future: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the Goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
Paul’s way of thinking didn’t happened instantaneously, it was deliberate. He was a man with a fallen nature just like ours. He struggled with negative thoughts and sins just like we do (Romans 7:15-25). He had to actively stop himself from feeding into sinful thoughts and emotions. He had to make the choice and discipline his mind (and his flesh) to focus on the things that God told him to focus on-the things that were true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. This is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it can be really really hard. But in time, with discipline and God’s strength, we can all get to the point where we are taking every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This is my prayer for all believers; for you and for me. And this is what I believe this month’s prayer challenge has the power to begin to accomplish in your life.
The 4 Week Challenge
This month, I want to try something a little different. Since the book of Philippians is only four chapters long (and so rich in knowledge and goodness), at the beginning of every week I want us to read the entire book. Don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to do this in less than 13 minutes (I timed myself). Now, I know that both you and I have the best intentions of praying Philippians 4:8, but we all know how busy life can be and how easy it is to forget. If we want to successfully pray Philippians 4:8 every day for the next 4 weeks we need to have a plan that will help hold us accountable. We also need to have a visual daily reminder of our goal. So, here’s the plan:
- PRAY THE VERSE: everyday for the next four weeks pray the words of Philippians 4:8. Your prayer might sound something like this, “Lord, help me to focus on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. Reveal to me the things that are virtuous and praiseworthy, both in my life and in the life of others. Write this verse on my heart and bring it to my mind whenever I am thinking something that doesn’t please you.”
- READ THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS + WRITE OUT THE VERSE: at the start of every week, read the entire book of Philippians in one sitting and then write out Philippians 4:8.
- DOWNLOAD THE 4 WEEK PRAYER BUNDLE: this 7 page packet includes a beautifully designed art printable of Philippians 4:8 that you can easily print out and hang or frame somewhere in your home. Make sure you place it somewhere you will see it every day like on your bathroom mirror or your bedside table (it will remind you of the challenge). It also includes weekly worksheets that will help you think deeper and gain more insight into Philippians 4:8 by:
- Helping you understand terms you may not be familiar with.
- Understanding the context of the verses.
- Guiding you in searching your own heart about the issues you’re praying about.
- Giving you space to actually write down the passage in its entirety once every week (the act of writing it down will help your mind to store the prayer in your long term memory vs your short term memory) and reminding you to read the entire book of Philippians.
- PLUS BRAND NEW scripture wallpapers of Philippians 4:8 made especially for your cell phone are included! Now, every time you look at your phone you will be reminded of the challenge and encouraged by the words of God.
One Last Thing…
When you first start praying Philippians 4:8 you’re not going to have it instantly memorized. Feel free to look over the verse as you pray. Don’t worry, it’s not like you’re cheating if your eyes are open. 🙂 If you stay faithful, by the end of these four weeks you’ll know this Scripture like the back of your hand and will be able to include it in future prayers. I will be praying for you and please pray for me and all the other women who will be taking part in this challenge as well. I pray that this will increase godly living in all our lives and that our knowledge of the Word and who God is would grow.
Also, if you haven’t already downloaded your gorgeously designed and curated FREE 30+ page Becoming More Beautiful In Christ Workbook you definitely should! It explores what Christ finds beautiful and how you can maintain this beauty throughout your life. It’s filled with worksheets, resources, and encouragement that will help you become more beautiful in your style, friendships, the words you speak, and in your relationship with the Lord. Get yours today in the Subscriber Only Free Resource Library.