6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Like most people, I take many things for granted. Most days, I don’t think twice about whether I’ll have electricity for my cell phone, my computer or my refrigerator. I’m not worried about whether water will flow from the faucets in my kitchen and bathrooms or whether there will be food at the grocery stores when I go shopping next week. It’s easy to trust in everyday things I can see and feel.
The Bible tells us that God is behind everything. He created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), He gives life to everything (Nehemiah 9:6), and He sustains all things by the power of His word (Hebrews 1:3). Our Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the flowers of the fields (Matthew 6:26-34). If He does these things for birds and flowers, won’t He do that and more for those of us who are created in His image? Just like we can trust God with the smaller, commonplace things, we can trust Him with the big things that are worrying us and giving us anxiety.
Jesus calls us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened, and He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28). How do we get to the point where we trust God to work out all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28)? We rarely will trust someone we don’t know well. Rather, trust flows from a deep, abiding relationship. With any friend you have, the strength of the relationship relies on open, ongoing communication. The Apostle Paul exhorts the Philippians—and us—to have that kind of relationship with God:
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6-7
Paul describes a relationship in which we bring everything on our minds to God—where we are completely devoted to discussing all things with Him. Rather than keeping the burden of worry on our hearts, we should lift the request to the LORD and trust His will to be done.
Paul then brings in another key idea: thanksgiving. We should go to God with a thankful heart, remembering that every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). Many situations that seem bleak and grim can look much different when we take a moment to be grateful. An attitude of thanksgiving can help take the focus off our problems and shine a light on the broader plan God has for us.
As a result of submitting all things to Him with a thankful heart, God promises to bless us with His peace. Whether or not we receive the answer we are seeking, God’s peace will flow over us and guard our hearts and minds. That is a beautiful ‘side effect’ of prayer and perhaps the best remedy for anxiety.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How can you get to the point in your prayer life where you go to the LORD about everything?
- Do you have a regular time and place where you talk to God?
- Do you trust that God will work out all things for your good?
- Think about the things causing anxiety in your life. Do they align with seeking His kingdom and His righteousness? If not, how can you align your prayers to seek His kingdom and His righteousness first?