“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
We find various forms of “do not be anxious” sprinkled throughout the Bible. Jesus even devoted a great deal of the Sermon on the Mount to the crippling effects of anxiety and His solution to it (Matt. 6:25-34). In the passage for today’s Gracewaves Paul again reminded us to “be anxious for nothing,” and he provided some guidance for fulfilling this imperative.
He wrote: “let your requests be made known to God” (4:6). You need to embrace this call to pray about everything. God invites you to bring your burdens to Him. He is not wearied by them. He will not chide you for them. He understands them. He invites our total dependence on Him.
One of the prophecies concerning Jesus was the He would be a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). Because of what Jesus faced here on earth, God knows what you are facing each day. He is not surprised or disappointed by your prayers about your burdens. Let them be known.
Next, we find a hidden gem in the scripture. We are to pray and ask “with thanksgiving.” This overlooked quality of a rich life of prayer is infinitely important. Thanksgiving means that we are surveying our lives to see what God has already done. As we review His multiple blessings and express gratitude for them, we realize that anxiety about life is not our sole experience. Awareness of loss or fear of loss has perhaps been exaggerated and overwhelmed the reality of God’s provision in so many areas of your life. Through the lenses of thanksgiving the anxiety often dissipates like a nightmare at dawn. It was never real.
“Letting your requests be made known to God with thanksgiving” provides a very important spiritual balance in your life. You begin to realize that God has taken care of you each day. He has provided resources you would never imagine. You have survived and grown through experiences you thought would have crippled you forever.
Then you rediscover a sublime truth: as God has acted in the past, He will act in the present and the future. God has a great track record. Enjoy God today. Trust Him with tomorrow.
At this point, “the peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (4:7). God has restored your balance. He has brought you in tune with the rhythms of His grace.
So go ahead and pray about everything, with thanksgiving. And be at peace.
Dr. Terry Ellis
July 19, 2015