“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Feeling anxious is a normal human experience. It can be triggered by so many different things. But God does not want His children living with anxiety. He tells us “Do not be anxious about anything.” How is that possible?
First, today’s passage tells us that if we pray about everything then we don’t have to be anxious about anything. Anxiety often comes when we feel the gap between what we want (or don’t want) and what we can control. We are anxious because we can’t control things and so we worry the outcome. But prayer is an expression of trust in God. Through prayer we can take all our worries and give them to God and trust that He is going to do what is best. We aren’t in control. But God is. Peace comes by trusting Him.
Second, we are to pray with thanksgiving. Gratitude for what God has already done is meant to fuel our faith that God is going to continue to take care of us. Anxiety and gratitude actually come from the same section of our brain. We can’t feel anxiety and gratefulness at the same time. So, when we are feeling anxious, through prayer we should start thanking God for all that He has already given us. A thankful heart will bring peace to an anxious mind.
Third, we are to make our requests known to God. God already knows, but He wants us to be able to voice our requests to Him as an expression of trust in Him. Notice, that it says requests, not demands. There is a big difference between telling God what to do and asking God for what you want to see God do. There is nothing wrong with asking God for what you want. But we should trust that His way is always best. We can’t demand God do things our way, but should trust the way that He chooses to lead us.
So pray. Be thankful. Be honest. But in all things, trust God. He’s a good Father who will take care of us. He has already taken care of our greatest need by sending Jesus to die for us. We don’t need to be anxious. He’s not going to abandon us now.
Question: Do you talk to God about the anxieties that you can carry?
Challenge: Start your day by thanking God for three different things.
Prayer: God, help me to trust you and be thankful for you so that your peace might fill my life.
Jeff Boettcher, Chapel Leader -- Philadelphia Phillies