Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6–7 (NLT)
Paul instructed the Philippians that they were not supposed to worry about anything. Hold on a second! Did he really mean anything? Let’s stop there and consider the ramifications of such an instruction. Surely we should worry about something! What about nuclear warfare, global warming, pestilences, famines, wars, obesity, and Christian persecution? Surely there must be something that we are allowed to worry about as believers! Come on Paul! Be reasonable!
Paul lived in tumultuous times. Believers were incarcerated, tortured, and killed. They were executed in public arenas in horrible circumstances. He knew that his readers were worried about many things, but he wrote them to stop worrying. Why? Because worry doesn’t change your reality and it steals your peace.
Prayer, not worry, is a much more productive activity to engage in when your world is falling apart. He wrote that they shouldn’t worry about anything, but instead, pray about everything.
Put that negative energy into positive action. Talk to God about everything that comes up on your mental radar screen. Tell Him what you need and thank Him for what He has done. See the two parts of your conversation with God? Ask about your needs and thank Him for what He has done!
Gratitude alleviates the pangs of anxiety. After you have prayed and thanked the Lord for His faithfulness, you will experience God’s peace. This very same peace will subsequently act as a holy doorman. Peace will keep the worries of this world from entering your heart and mind as you live in Christ Jesus.
It is so easy just to read over this scripture and miss the sequence of events. First, you decide to stop worrying. Second, you bring your concerns to God in prayer. Third, you thank God for His faithfulness in the past. Fourth, you are bathed in a peace that can only come from spending time with the Lord. You know that He will be faithful in the future as well. Fifth, peace shelters you from the storms of life.
You can live a peaceful life when you stop worrying and start praying. Know this: God is for you and not against you. His peace can shield you from life’s most complicated worries.
- Don’t worry about anything. Not. A. Thing.
- Start praying about everything. Everything!
- Ask God for His provision and thank Him with a heart filled with gratitude for His provisions to date.
- Welcome the resulting peace and watch it shelter you from life’s many worries.
Excerpted from The Art of Peace: 21 Days To A More Peaceful You by Iann Schonken: