Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8
My mom was the most creative worrier I’ve ever encountered. She could dream up ways that things could fall apart and then spend way too much time fretting about them. I would say that there is no placard that says “worry changes things,” but there are ones that say “prayer changes things.” Today’s verses are not suggestions, they are commands. In fact, when Jesus was with the disciples when they would fret, like when Jesus was asleep in the storm in Mark 4:40 He rebuked them with, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
Worrying, anxiety and fear are really signs of our lack of faith. The opposite reaction would be to trust God and to pray. The trick is to do it. I saw a skit once that painted such a good picture about the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds. There was a person sitting at a desk and a bodyguard standing watch at the door. Different people with the labels of “worry,” “anxiety,” and “fear.” knocked at the door one by one. The person at the desk told the bodyguard: “you take it.” One by one the peace of God bodyguard told the different visitors to go away.
That is a great visual. When worry, fear, anxiety, and fretting comes knocking, tell them to go away, trusting in God’s peace to cover you, or to be your bodyguard. Or better, your heart and mind guard. This is accomplished by praying first. Pray about everything. According to dictionary.com, supplication means the act of asking or begging for something humbly and earnestly. Nothing is too small or too big to bring to God. When you bring something troubling to God, claim that promise of peace.
And be thankful. The Israelites that went from Egypt to the Promised Land really lacked thankfulness. They grumbled, whined and challenged Moses’ authority at every turn. Even though God gave them water from a rock and manna each morning, it says in Psalm 78:17-19, “Yet they sinned still more against Him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.” And then in verse 21 God’s response to this: “When the Lord heard, He was full of wrath…because they did not believe in God and did not trust His saving power.”
When we are not thankful and grumble about what we have, we are not believing in God or trusting in His ability to help us. When we are quick to pray when we encounter something bothersome, thanking God, His peace is a promise that God delivers on. This peace surpasses understanding, which means that we can’t explain it or figure it out. We can just enjoy it and praise God for it.
It really is astonishing that we can ask God for something and He will hear us, respond and give us peace. Don’t ever take that for granted so much that you rely on yourself and begin to live a life that you manage. This is in contrast to attempting to walk by faith and live a life that responds to the voice of God and attempts great things for Him and through Him.
If you want victory over worry and you want to have the steady enjoyment of God’s peace, then follow Paul’s prescription: Do not be anxious but pray about everything. Simply stated: Don’t worry, be happy (and pray).