Anxiety. Despair. Discouragement. Disillusionment. They tend to set our emotions in motion and consume our thoughts. These descriptive words tend to worm their way into our daily lives.
In a well-known passage in Philippians, Paul penned the pattern for relief.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6
Four times, he uses words that indicate prayer (prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and requests). These four words are not meant to be analyzed for nuances of prayer. They are meant to promote the importance of prayer.
Prayer places us squarely in the presence of God. Prayer gives us the opportunity to focus on Him and not on the things that cause so much worry and fear. Prayer puts our focus on the Lord.
Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer in the believer’s life. Relief for anxiety is found in the peace that only God can give, in answer to prayer, to His people.
We can analyze what it is that we treasure so much that causes anxiety. But Paul does not call us to dwell on our anxieties. Paul does not invite us to analyze our worry. Instead, Paul calls us to prayer.
In effect, Paul writes, “When you are discouraged, anxious, worrying, and fearful, cry out to the Lord.” Why the Lord? He promises a peace that rises above our circumstances.
God’s Word is calling us away from the uncertain (our circumstances) to the Certain. Where is our certainty? Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. When we go to Him in prayer, He promises peace to us.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7
God’s peace is described as surpassing all comprehension. His peace is beyond our understanding. We cannot figure out how we can be peaceful in the midst of dire straits. However, we do believe in a God who can do far more than we ask or imagine (Eph 3:20). We need that kind of peace!
As you close out another potentially stressful week or intercede on behalf of those who are anxious, I invite you to focus on the Lord in prayer. Actually pray. He has earmarked His peace for your thoughts and emotions, your heart and your mind. May you experience His peace through the power of His presence.
Love and blessings,