In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a devotional I’ve been working on about anxiety, worry and prayer. Check out week 2.
Take a few minutes to find a quiet place to be alone, center your thoughts. A helpful practice for you to try is centering prayer. In the link before, Father James Martin teaches how to take part in centering prayer as preparation to read the scriptures.
Read Philippians 4: 5-7
In my 20’s the biggest source of anxiety I had was one day finding a wife. Most of my friends had found their spouse in their early 20’s and had gotten married. I had attended a Christian college where “ring by spring” was of a high value. Ring by spring was the idea that most folks wanted to get engaged by the spring semester. I was not part of that lucky and most blessed group.
When I would struggle with loneliness and fear, I’d find myself looking through my Bible for something…anything that could help me. Then I would discover this verse. With the words, “Don’t be anxious….” At first glance, this is the most unhelpful verse. Don’t worry? You might as well say don’t think about pink elephants, because then that is all you will think of. Paul, the writer of this isn’t saying, “Make yourself stop worrying!” but he is telling us HOW to worry.
Not stop; but how
When you worry, turn the source of your anxiety into a prayer. Pray about your loneliness, pray about your fear, pray about your struggle with singleness. So I prayed. As I prayed, I was filled with a strange peace that filled me up. And this peace gave me hope.
Yesterday we looked at Matthew 6. These two verses pair really well with Matthew 6:34, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” If we use our anxiety as an opportunity to pray those things to God, we seek God’s kingdom. As we seek God’s Kingdom in our prayers we start to experience the rest of this passage:
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Real peace comes when we start to get into the habit of giving our anxiety to God. As we do that, we start to experience God holding us close to Him.
Prayer is the Path to Peace.
Real peace comes when we take our anxious thoughts, situations and fears to Him. As we surrender them to God, He will give us His peace.
What situations do you need to give to God right now? Go ahead and write them out. As you write them, say: “Jesus, I release this into your hands….”
“The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.” – Rick Warren