Why pray when you can worry. That seems like a good motto for most of our lives! There is so much to worry about. Consider the Top 10 Stressors from a survey:
1. Death 2. Divorce 3. Marital separation 4. Jail term 5. Death of a close family member 6. Personal injury or illness 7. Relationship tension 8. Fired at work 9. Marital issues 10. Retirement.
If you study that list you can sum it up in a few categories that we stress and worry about:
1. Relationships (#'s 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9)
2. Pain (#'s 1, 6)
3. Uncertainty (#'s 4, 5, 6, 8, 10)
Still unclear who worries about going to "jail" enough that it makes it to #4!
Read: Philippians 4:2-7
2I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Read verses 6-7 in a different translation ... it might help to HEAR it!
6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Do you think it is harder or easier to thank God during stressful times?
Paul wrote to this church while in prison. I think that is #4 above! He had no assurance of his future (#10). He did not know if he was going to live or die (#1). On top of all this stress he was "worried" about the churches he planted and the in-fighting that was happening among them (v. 2).
Yet, we know from the book of Acts that he was singing and praising the Lord while in prison. Who is this guy? No surprise, then, that he calls these believers to rejoice in the Lord no matter the circumstances and to pray to God.
Paul's motto: Why worry when you can pray!
Now, for our purposes, there is a oft missed statement here:
Don't be anxious. I get that.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,with thanksgiving, present your requests to God
Pray. I get that.
Petition or ask God for help. I get that.
With thanksgiving? Hmmm .........
Paul knew something we often have to be reminded of: God is Lord over what happens in my life. He is the author and perfecter of my faith. He is the one at the beginning of the journey and the one that walks with me through the hills and valleys. Nothing surprises Him.
I need to take my worries, my list, and give it to God. I need to talk with Him about it. I need to ask Him to help with it. I need to thank Him through it.
Make a list of your own. Identify what you are worried about and give it over to God. Oh, and don't forget to thank Him through it.
Look at the list you created. Find 3 things you can thank God for on each item in that list.
God be praised!
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.