“Worry is a fast getaway on a wooden horse,” said author Stanley Horowitz.
Are you a person who worries? The apostle Paul says you shouldn’t.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
What should you do?
Take a determined stand against worry
“Be anxious for nothing” means “don’t worry about anything at all.” Nothing means “no thing.” No job responsibility, no family problem, no pending decision, no health issue—nothing at all.
“I can’t help it,” you say. “The harder I try to quit, the more it controls my mind.” I know what you mean. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to turn worry off.
But if you don’t rule against worry, it will waste your life and health. So, we must set our minds against it and kick and fight to get loose from it.
Worry is a choice we make. We choose to focus our attention on the “what if’s” and “oh no’s,” instead of on God. But if we use our minds for the right thoughts and pursuits, the wrong things cannot control us. You can’t just remove the negative and expect things to be right.
Therefore, Paul goes on to say . . .
In worry’s place, PRAY!
“But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Just as we are to worry about NO THING, we are to pray about EVERY THING. Trade one for the other. Turn inner musings into upward requests.
Be detailed about it. For instance . . .
Start the day by praying through every possible encounter you can think of. “Lord, when I go downstairs to eat breakfast today, help me to be friendly to the family. As I drive to work, cause me to use the time wisely, by thinking the right thoughts. When I visit the doctor, give me a smile and a cheerful outlook. Open a door to give the receptionist an encouraging word, and give me courage no matter what the doctor says.”
When you wake up during the night, force your mind to think of God and intercede for as many people as you can think of. Or, read your New Testament with a small flashlight, turning biblical phrases into prayer.
Paul tells us to do our praying “with thanksgiving.” This is an expression of your faith in a God who loves you and has a purpose for everything He brings into your life.
Sometimes it is difficult to be thankful in your prayers, but it can be done.
Alexander Whyte, the famous 19th century Scottish preacher, always began his public prayers among his church people with an expression of gratitude. On one cold rainy day when his people were just sure he could not have anything to be thankful for, he prayed, “We thank Thee, O Lord, that it is not always like this.”
You can at least say that, can’t you?
God’s promise of peace
What is the result of all of this?
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
This means that God will set up his sentinel called “peace” to march around your heart and mind, guarding them from anxiety. He keeps you peaceful in your thinking and your emotion.
This is more than therapy; it is a command. God demands that His people live peacefully, no matter what the outer storm.
Dwight L. Moody, a well-known evangelist in the 1800s, outlined this passage with these memorable words:
Worry about nothing
Pray about everything
Thank God for anything