“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:6-7)
A restless mind, jittery legs, and trouble breathing. These are just a few manifestations of anxiety. Anxiety runs the gamut of diagnoses in the DSM-V, and includes everything from Unspecified Anxiety Disorder to Generalized Anxiety Disorder to phobias. For some, it may look like excessive worry about the future or fear of failure.
Isn’t it amazing then that the Apostle Paul (empowered by the Holy Spirit) tells us to be anxious for nothing? This hardly seems possible! Yet, we know with God nothing is impossible- nothing is too hard for Him! I love that in the midst of this difficult command He doesn’t just leave us hanging. Instead, He gently instructs us how to free ourselves of anxiety.
Right before we are told to “be anxious for nothing,” we are also told to rejoice in the Lord always (v.4). Rather than focus on the circumstance at hand, we are to rejoice in the person of God. Focusing on His attributes and times of past faithfulness is the breath of fresh air needed when anxiety overwhelms us.
Paul then says, By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. This is an amazing invitation to cast all of our worries on Him- to pour out our hearts to the God of the Universe! He is our Father who loves us, and He invites us to pray with thanksgiving in our hearts.
The result of this instruction? The peace which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Peace. The longing of every anxious heart and mind. What a wonderful promise given to us by God in His Word. In our anxious moments, may we quickly remember to rejoice in God with a spirit of thanksgiving as we seek Him in prayer. Then, we will have peace.
Questions: 1) When are you most prone to anxiety? 2) List specific traits of God (or past instances of His faithfulness) to focus on when feeling anxious. 3) What do you need to bring to God in prayer today? Write them down and pray through these. Thank Him for His goodness and love!
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the invitation to come to you with all of my anxieties. You are a God of grace and mercy and you are so good to me. I rejoice in who you are and praise you for your unfailing love. Thank you that through Christ, your peace can dwell in me richly. In his mighty name we pray, Amen.