Anxiety, worry, and stress can exhaust anybody at any time. Many of us are plagued with circumstances robbing us of our joy. Maybe you cope by breathing in and out of a bag or by using some method, but I want to remind you of a good option.
When you are anxious, don’t neglect to pray.
The city of Philippi had a special place in the heart of Paul. He loved this church. When he wrote Philippians, his intention was to visit them soon (Phil. 2:24) even though he was currently in prison (Phil. 1:7, 13).
As a prisoner incarcerated for the crime of doing God’s work, Paul wrote to this church he loved encouraging them to rejoice in their circumstances. In light of their current situation and the promise of struggles to come, Paul knew that there would come times of plenty and times of want (Phil. 4:12). Aware of the uncertain times awaiting them, Paul encouraged these people dear to his heart.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Paul instructs this church twice to rejoice in the Lord (v.4). Why would that be an important command to repeat? Because we forget it so much!
According to Phil. 4:6, there is nothing in my life that is anxious-worthy!
When circumstances confront us and tempt us to worry, we cannot ignore them or hope they will simply go away. We must pray. Don’t let anything cause you to worry but let everything cause you to pray.
In Phil. 4:6, Paul uses the term “prayer” and “petition.” “Prayer” is the general term for talking with God. “Petition” refers to the more specific requests made. As we abstain from worrying, we are to stay devoted to prayer in all situations and making specific petitions with thanksgiving.
While we have already seen God answer prayers in our midst, there are still some unresolved issues on our prayer lists.
As we have been compiling lists over which to pray, you probably have some items that you are still praying that God will address.
The tendency is to resort back to anxiousness and attempt to take matters into our own hands.
God’s Word is clear – we must fight against anxiety and rely on prayer.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.