Prayer, Philippians 4:6 Lived Out
by Gini Crawford, MSW
Prayer goes with trust
I believe the only way you can truly trust (rely on God) is to know Him through His Word and stay connected to Him through prayer. Philippians 4:6 makes it very clear, to stop sinful anxiety and lessen reaction anxiety, you need to pray about everything.
...The Lord is near. 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 comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5b-7 NASB®
Philippians 4:5b-7 paraphrased by me: You need to deal with anxiety through God, He is near. To trust God enough to talk to Him about everything especially your anxious cares. To be thankful, even for what makes you anxious. Praying like this, will protect your mind and heart with Jesus' extraordinary peace, instead of the world's anxious lies and cares (Psalm 4:1, 8; John 14:1, 27, 16:33).
God’s goodness in our anxious struggles
Why can we be thankful for people and happenings that bring worry-fear-anxiety to us? Because God is in control and is working all things for our well-being, our good even the anxious trials and traumas of life. Remember, God loved us and died for us, when we were His enemies, so why wouldn't He give us what is good for us (Romans 5:8-10; 1 John 3:1, 4:9-10).
"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NASB®
God sees things from an eternal all-knowing perspective. He knows what needs to happen to us for our good. Nothing happens to us that God won’t use in a beneficial way in the present, in our future and into our eternity (Romans 6:23, 8:18, 28, 31-39). As the Apostle Paul who suffered a lot said in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18,
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NASB®
Prayer and thanksgiving brings peace
These two principles should encourage thankfulness when you are praying:
You need to get to know God like you would anyone else you love, and to get to know His Word. This is because getting to know God and His Word enables you to acknowledge Who He is and what He has done for you, so you can have heartfelt thankfulness while praying. When you have an attitude of thankfulness towards God, you are trusting in Him.
You need to be alert to the many blessings God gives you every day. In James 1:17, He is called the giver of every good and perfect gift. Remembering this can fill your mind with the blessings He has given to you, not with what you don’t have. Prayerful thankfulness gives our minds His peace, because our focus is on God, and not on self and the world’s anxious cares.
Real prayers not phony prayers
You are told in Colossians 4:2 to devote yourself to prayer. This means having a consistent and committed lifestyle of talking and listening to God that comes from being devoted to Him and His Word. Now, I don't mean you need to walk around chanting something that sounds spiritual to God, or going through your day muttering a few words here and there to God so you can feel like you are doing your relational duty to Him. God isn't telling you to make up niceties to be thankful and forget about dealing with anxious reality. God wants your prayer life to be authentic and honest. He wants you to talk to Him as you would talk to someone you love and trust, and who truly loves you. If prayer is your way of life along with being thankful, it tends to get your minds off of what is distressing you, and onto God and His reassuring promises to you.
My daughter-in-law does a neat thing that encourages her mind to be on God not her anxious cares. She makes a list of all the good things God has given her and puts the list where she can see it often. This helps her to have a mind-set of thanksgiving and trust, and not a mind-set of anxious concerns. I would encourage you to do the same. Read Philippians 4:5-13, 19.
An attitude of prayerful thankfulness definitely is an anxiety calmer. Memorize Philippians 4:5b-7 and then ask God to help you to be a thankful woman of prayer.