Never “have to” worry? Hadn’t Jesus told me not to worry? When had I replaced “Pray about everything” (Phil. 4:6 NLT) with “Worry about something.”
I prayed, but I also threw in a dash of worry for good measure, especially over the unknown future. Yet Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt. 6:34 NASB).
How many of my concerns related to the future? About 99.9%. This uncovered a deeper problem as I remembered something else Jesus said.
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15 NASB).
My worry showed lack of faith and disobedience. My worry told God, I doubt—
Jesus said unbelievers spend their lives chasing security. In contrast, believers have a heavenly Father who knows and provides for our needs. We find security in seeking Him and His kingdom.
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:32, 33 NIV).
Replace Worry with Prayer
Paul provides the Christian a profitable replacement for worry.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Phil. 4:6 NLT).
We’re all tempted to worry. But believers don’t have to give into this temptation. We have the power to turn our worries into life-changing prayers. When we add thanksgiving to our prayers, God subtracts anxiety and multiplies peace.
- Thank You for caring (1 Pet. 5:7)
- Thank You for knowing my every need and concern (Matt. 6:32).
- Thank You for being greater than my limitations (Luke 1:37).
- Thank You that Your plans for me are good (Jere. 29:11).
- Thank You that Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps. 23:6).
Worry robs our strength and provides no benefit. It is a poor substitute for peace-giving prayer.#Worry robs our strength and provides no benefit. It is a poor substitute for peace-giving prayer. #pray Click To Tweet
When Prayer Doesn’t Bring Visible Answers
Sometimes we see amazing answers to our prayers. But some heartfelt prayers seem to go unanswered. On the night of His betrayal Jesus asked God to take the cup of suffering from Him. God didn’t remove the suffering, but He sent an angel to strengthen Him so He could endure it. And He showed Jesus the joy that awaited Him on the other side of suffering (Heb. 12:2).
Even when God doesn’t answer as we hope, the prayer offered with thanksgiving still bears fruit. It provides a peace that transcends comprehension. Our hearts can rest in the knowledge that God is working for our eternal good. Some answers won’t be seen until heaven.
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” (Phil. 4:7 NLT).
What worry niggles at the back of your mind? What dread looms before you?
Bring it to God. Thank Him that He’s with you, for you, and will never leave you. Thank Him that He’s bigger than your problem. Surrender your desires and expectations to Him. Keep giving them to God until you’re finally able to let go and say, “Thy will be done.”
Unbelievers worry. Believers have a Heavenly Father to care for them. Let’s leave our worries with our Father—and rest.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matt. 6:33 NLT).
Want to exchange your worries for peace? Give Yourself a Break is a ten week interactive study to guide you into God’s rest.