Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything…(Philippians 4:6 NLT).
Do you have a problem with worry? Maybe you’re exhausted from worrying about everything from your family to the elections, to the economy, to the condition of the world. But here’s some good news: The Lord has given us a secret weapon to use against anxiety. He tells us we can overcome worry through prayer.
Now, I happen to be a world class worrier. I didn’t have to learn how to worry. It just came naturally as a by-product of an overactive imagination, a curious mind, and a relentless memory. Marriage and a family only brought more responsibility, and therefore more things to worry about. I agree with my friend who defines worry with the acronym: W.O.R.R.Y: Worry-Only-Robs-Rest-from-You. It’s true. Worry is exhausting.
So as one who is prone to worry, I’m inspired by Paul’s letter to some persecuted Christians in the town of Philippi. They were always in danger of getting killed, and therefore had lots to worry about. “Don’t worry about anything,” he encouraged them. “Instead, pray about everything.”
I’m struck by that word instead. Paul didn’t just say to stop worrying. He said, instead of worrying, to pray. He tells us to redirect all that furious, anxious energy into prayer. To make worry work for us instead of against us!
I get that concept. It sounds a little like a trick I learned back in high school when I took karate in between sports seasons. I was taught to use the enemy’s energy against him. A violent attack could be redirected to incapacitate my attacker. The Bible reminds us that daily, we are in a spiritual battle. So, in a similar way, prayer is one way to use the devil’s energy against him.
When we use all the energy (that we are not using for worry) on prayer, we can begin to experience gratitude and peace, instead of anxiety. Paul puts it this way: “Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.” Then, “If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT).
Reminder: When you are tempted to worry, try redirecting all that energy into prayer!
(Adapted from Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning How to Hear the Voice of God, By Marilynn Chadwick, Howard Books, 2012).