“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.”
Lately I find myself praying with a sense of worry…of fear. Fear connected with the knowledge that while my God hears me, I have no guarantee that He will grant my request. That He will answer in the way that I want.
I pray because I know that’s what I should do…but the anxiety continues because I cannot see the outcome. I tell myself I shouldn’t be anxious. But merely hearing those words doesn’t make it go away. One might then conclude that nothing will help and proceed to live in a state of fear – fear which may ebb and flow depending on how often the circumstances come to mind or how successfully it can be suppressed, but fear which never truly leaves.
But I don’t want a life like that. It isn’t truly living. It certainly isn’t the abundant life which Jesus said He came to give us. And it most definitely is not faith. Faith that moves mountains. Faith that believes our God is good and powerful and wise and faithful. Faith that gives us rest, because we have peace knowing that the God of heaven holds us in His hand and keeps us as the apple of His eye.
So I’m going to spend some time dwelling on Scriptures, asking my heavenly Father to seep them into my soul. I’m going to take the apostle Paul’s instruction from Philippians 4:8, where he wrote, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true…think about these things.” This may be why he wrote that there, right after his words about anxiety and prayer and the peace of God. They are linked. If we pray but still remain focused on our anxiety, it will never really leave. But if we pray and confess our anxiety and then allow God to remind us of who He is and what His Word tells us is true – and focus on that – that’s when His peace flows in. That’s when our hearts and our minds are guarded – from fear, from doubt, from temptations of the evil one.
“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of much more value than they?…
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Matthew 6:26, 31-33
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you…
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do,
for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
“This I know, that God is for me.”
“I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.”
“I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.”
“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.”
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.”
“This God – his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”
Heavenly Father, cause these words to root deep in my heart, that their truths about who You are and what You do will eliminate the anxieties which cloud my thoughts and distract me from Your glory. Because God, my God, You are glorious. You have established Your throne in righteousness. Your goodness and mercy, Your steadfast love, pursue me every day of my life. Because of Your mercy and Your great love, You gave Your Son to pay my debt, and You have made me alive in Him.
You have purposes, plans of Your heart, for my life, and You will fulfill each one of them. You will use even that which the enemy intends for evil to bring about Your good and to glorify Your great name. Nothing is impossible for You. And while You will accomplish all of Your purposes (not mine), I can rest and rejoice knowing that Your plans are far greater and bigger and more joy-filled than my own. You will receive glory. And I will be increasingly amazed at Your wisdom, power, and grace. Make me ever-more aware of Your perfect love. For Your perfect love drives out all fear.