Good morning everyone,
Exhortation is defined as an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something. Encouragement can be defined as the expression of approval and support. Prayer should be defined as a humble request or expression of thanks addressed to God through Jesus Christ. When you look at all three of these subjects in Philippians 4:2-9, Paul addresses them with a sense that we should utilize them to carry on in a way that will reflect our Christian makeup! Verse 4 says that we should rejoice in the Lord always, in every and all situations! Verse 5 says that we should be reasonable (good sense and sound judgment) in our requests. Verse 6 says we shouldn't be anxious about anything! The pattern here is letting God be in complete control so that you represent Him in a fashion worthy of who He is! He doesn't want to be your imaginary friend. He wants to be One that gives you 'complete peace' as you trust Him to direct your thoughts and actions. He wants you to have compassion for those that are hurt and lost and to lift those concerns up to Him so that He can pluck on their heartstrings! As you get to know Him, He will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding. People will not understand how you can get through situations that you encounter and His story will be revealed throughout your life. See, getting to know the Lord is not about being on a 'cakewalk' in life. It is about allowing God to use you through each and every situation so that folks will want to have the same peace you have been given!
Your brother in Christ,