Prayer To Be Anxious For Nothing
Be Anxious For Nothing – How to Find Peace
“Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” — Proverbs 12:25
As human beings we were not designed to have to deal with stress. God created mankind for a worry free environment in the Garden of Eden. Adam was made to work the Garden and walk with God in the cool of the day in a totally stress free environment.
It was not until the fall in Genesis 3 that stress and anxiety entered into mankind. Worry and stress come out in our bodies in tangible physical symptoms. Everyone is different. For me, when I let myself stress over things my upper back and shoulders knot up and I can get some pretty strong headaches.
Stress has been scientifically proven to be one of the leading causes of all sorts of sickness and disease.
Scriptural Antidote to Anxiety
Fortunately the Bible has some great guidance when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Here’s what Paul told us.
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. — Philippians 4:6-7
Paul tells us not to be anxious. What is anxiety? Worry.
Really worrying is meditating on the negative, what can go wrong. It’s one big giant what-if game. Worry keeps you from getting back to sleep in the middle of the night because your mind is spinning on all the negative possibilities.For those of you who don’t know, my wife Lisa was a veterinary technician for 20+ years. (Because she knows about the insides of animals it means some of our conversations can get pretty gross at times. Often at dinner time. Think about it.) But she says worrying is behaving a cow.
￼Cows are ruminants. Or as the Bible says, they “chew the cud.” They literally bring their food back up into their mouths after they’ve eaten it to chew on it some more. (I know, yuck, right?)
Don’t Take Ownership of Negative Thoughts
That’s what we do when we worry. We have a negative thought. OK. It happens. But then we take ownership of that thought and start going through all the possibilities.
Maybe you’ve got a problem at work. Or maybe you’re work and looking for a job but haven’t put as much time into your job search as maybe you could have. (Maybe in your heart you’ve kind of given up!)
Then you have a thought: I should have worked on my resume some more and filled out some more applications this week instead of hanging out with the guys and going to those social things in the evenings.
Paul says that’s where it should stop.
But so many times we take that one thought and run with it. Our thoughts go something this.
We’ve got enough money to make it through a bit longer.
But what if we get an unexpected bill? What if the car breaks down? How can I go to interviews without a car? If I can’t go on interviews how will I get a job? Who will hire someone who doesn’t even have a car? If I don’t get a job we’ll be evicted from our place.
If the car breaks down we’ll lose the house for sure. Or what if one of us gets sick? We don’t have insurance so how will we pay for it? We’re doomed! I’ll never find work. How will we make it? I don’t even know if I’m saved!
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But how many times have we done exactly that?
￼Paul says don’t do that. Don’t let your mind go there. Stop it!
Be. Anxious. For. Nothing.
but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God
Try Prayer Instead of Worrying
Here’s how it should go instead.
You have a thought: I should have worked on my resume some more and filled out some more applications this week instead of hanging out with the guys and going to those social things in the evenings.
Then you stop. And you pray.
Father, I feel I messed up. I should have worked on my resume some more and filled out some applications so I wouldn’t be stressed about this job thing. Honestly I am a little stressed about it. But I thank you because you work everything together for my good because you have called me according to your purpose. Even when I mess up you have my back.
And you’re right. Even though I could see the time this week with my friends a waste, you did have me ministering to those folks while we were hanging out. You care about your people and you care about my friends. So you had me encourage them with your word. I know tomorrow is going to be a great day.
Thank you for the good night’s sleep I’m going to have now.
That’s a whole lot better than staying up half the night worrying.
Above Your Pay Grade
Look at what Paul says to do instead of worrying. In fact, let’s look at how the New Living Translation puts verse 6:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
￼To me Paul is saying that worry is “above our pay grade,” so to speak. It’s not our job to worry. We’re supposed to kick that up to the boss so he can deal with it.
How many in here have ever worked for someone else? Did you ever come across anything in your work that really needed to be dealt with by your boss?That’s exactly what Paul is saying to do with our worries. When we hold onto worry and anxiety we are doing something we were never meant to do. Our human bodies were never designed to cary stress.
We’re supposed to pass all that on to God and let him deal with all that junk.
Here’s what the Greek word that is translated anxious means according to Strong’s:
- to be anxious
- to be troubled with cares
- to care for, look out for ( a thing)
- caring or providing for
- to seek to promote one’s interests
That’s the problem when we worry. We get focused on ourselves instead of on God.
Where is your focus?
When you find yourself all sucked into worry and anxiety, know this: you are nearly always worried about yourself in whatever situation you are stressed about.
Not only is worry usually sparked by an over emphasis of self-interest, but that inward self focus gets magnified the more we worry too.
Paul gives us the antidote to worry.
Not Anxious But Peaceful
Let me ask you, what is the opposite of anxiety according to this passage? Peace.
When we pray, instead of worry we bring the peace of God into our souls – into our minds, our will and our emotions. Not only do we tap into God’s peace, Paul says that peace will actually guard our hearts.
Look at verse 7 in the New Living Translation.
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.
Are you worried, anxious or stressed out?
Stop meditating and obsessing on all those things that are above your pay grade. Instead give those negative things to your Father in Heaven. He said he can handle them for you. Then you can experience peace that is so incredibly powerful that it can hold you steadfast no matter what storm may be raging all around you.
How to Truly be Anxious for NOTHING and live Fulfilled
The apostle Paul encouraged us to “be anxious for nothing.” This becomes more and more relevant with each day that goes by. I believe that this generation is under more pressure than any generation that has come before it. Ironically this is the only generation that has lived without a world war in close to half a century!
Our luxuries are the greatest source of pressure. Things such as social media keep up flooded with information that we may or may not need. This means that we are worried about things that would have gone unknown in previous generations. We know what is happening on every corner of the globe as it happens. And of course, bad news sells.
Children across the world are anxious about not being enough. Social media constantly sets standards that are unreachable. By contrast, life is hard. There are those who do not know where they next meal will come from or where they will spend the night.
How can one be anxious for nothing when there is so much to be anxious about? As I write this, the UK and Europe as a whole is anxious about the outcome of Brexit. The US is anxious about the crisis in leadership that is there today. Some thinking that the wrong leader is in power, and others thinking that there are inadequate leaders working with the president.
There is a vacuum to be filled. The apostle Paul had his own worries and anxieties to be mindful of. He didn’t know if his day would end in prison or or with his head on a chopping block. In my opinion the stakes were higher in his time.
Anxiety is a telling sign that you are holding on to what you should have placed in God’s hands. If you have placed it in his CAPABLE hands, you have no reason to be anxious, it is well. To be uncertain about anything is never an easy place to be. We find peace in knowing when are how things will occur. One of the lessons I have learned about myself, and had to improve on is anxiety.
I am more anxious when I do not have enough money. There is concern just looming over my head in those times. I am also very anxious when I think that I may disappoint someone. Deep down I am a people pleaser. There are upsides and downsides to this. The upside is that I genuinely care for others. The downside is that I may let people take advantage of me for longer than I should.
Take a moment to reflect on these things for your self. What are you most anxious about?
Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Being anxious for nothing is stopping yourself from playing tug-of-war with God. When you have handed him your cares and burdens, you stop trying to play fixer it the background. Is there anything too hard for the Lord? While Abram was promised to be a father of nation, him and his wife decided to play fixer by giving him his maid servant to lay with.
God’s ways are higher than ours. Stop trying to be God! Let go and let God deal with things.
Prayer and Supplication
Prayer is a great place to lay down your burdens into God’s capable hands. It is a great place to let go of anxiety. A supplication is a petition, to humbly and earnestly ask God for something. We know what the bible says about earnest prayer?
James 5:16 TLB Version
Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.
Other versions says such prayer “availeth much”
I will always contend that gratitude is the purest form of prayer. When you are thankful, the Lord is moved. We know his words of the leper who returned?
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
No matter what you are going through, be grateful for each day. We have blessings that we take for granted, that others would die to attain. In fact we have freedoms that others are dying for. There are people losing their lives for their faith, yet we often take for granted the fact that we can pray, praise and worship freely.
Let Your Requests Be Known to God
One of the most interesting conversations that was ever recorded of Jesus was the one that he had with Bartimaeus. The scripture tells us that this man was blind. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he would not be silenced. He called unto the master, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”[Mark 10]
What I found amusing was Jesus’ response to him. He answered, “What can I do for you?” This man was clearly blind. He had to be led through the crowd to get to Jesus. Yet, Jesus’ question was a valid one.
What can I do for you? We are never to pray amiss. There is power in targeted prayer. Prayers that are tailored to specific situations bear results.Whatever it is that you are anxious about, Jesus is asking you as well, “What can I do for you?”
Some may respond “he knows my needs”. Although this is true, he is not just willy nilly touching situations that you have not explicitly asked him to touch. I encourage you to be bold, to explicit in your requests to God. Let your requests be known to God.
The Peace of God will Guard Your Heart
We are assured that having done all of this, the peace of God that surpassed all understanding will guard our hearts. Where there is peace, you cannot be anxious for nothing. When your mind is at peace, anxiety is absent.
Meditate on His Word
As a bonus pointer, let us highlight the importance of meditating on the word of God. We know that faith is a direct result of hearing the word of God. There is no faith that is birthed away from the word of God. Read the scripture and meditate on it. When you meditate on the word of God you are reminded of who he is and what he can do.
How can you remain anxious, when you are aware of his love and of his power?
Christian Quotes About being Anxious
“I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize the Lord is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest positions He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult, His grace is sufficient.”- Hudson Taylor
Hudson Taylor’s quote is profound. He refuses to be anxious, realising that Christ is faithful to see his will come to pass. The Bible tells us that he watches over his word to perform it. Not a single word that he utters returns to him void. He sends his word out, and it performs that which it is sent out to perform.
Hudson goes on to say that God’s will is his will. When you tie your will to God’s you know that it shall come to pass. No matter when or how, it will come to pass. We are blessed to be carriers of the grace of God. His grace is sufficient, no matter the situation. There is no reason to allow anxiety to settle in.
“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”- George Mueller
What an amazing quote by George Mueller. We have already mentioned this, faith and anxiety cannot co-exist. One will eat at the other one until there is only one left. Where there is true faith, anxiety has to come to an end.
“Whenever a man allows himself to have anxieties, fears, or complaints, he must consider his behavior as either a denial of the wisdom of God or as a confession that he is his will.”- William Law
William Law simplifies it all is a very provoking and sobering quote. The presence of anxieties, fears or complaints is testament of denial of the wisdom of God. If this is not the case then it is a confession that you are walking his will. If you are walking in God’s will, why would you be anxious for anything?
“What else does anxiety about the future bring you but sorrow upon sorrow?”- Thomas a Kempis
What has sorrow ever resolved? Think about it. Sorrow adds more sorrow where there is no sorrow. Sometimes it adds more sorrow where there is none, and will never be.
You will find that some of the things that we are anxious about never come to fruition. We spend too much time worrying about what could happen, and it doesn’t always happen.
Even if it were to happen, would anxiety bring a solution?
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”- Charles Spurgeon
The quote by Charles Spurgeon is on another level. It is similar to the one above by Thomas Kempis. Whether you worry or not, the sorrows of tomorrow will come. The only difference is that by worrying today, you are not only going to endure the pain of tomorrow’s sorrows, but the worry of today. There is no strength in anxiety!
Prayer to be anxious for nothing
Father we pray for every reader or listen of this. As they go through this, may your peace that surpasses all understanding overcome them. Grant them renew hope. They will no longer be anxious for anything. May your grace be known to them in everything that they do. May they see and know your glory in the land of the living. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
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Be Anxious For Nothing, Pray About Everything
Here’s how you can kill the anxiety by praying about everything.
Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about things, situations, or relationships, typically about some imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
That sounds a lot worry to me, and Jesus commanded us not to worry, saying, “do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing” (Matt 6:25)? This imperative command includes what we eat, what we wear, and what tomorrow may bring. I heard one man say that almost 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass, and the other 10% are things we cannot change.Either way, having anxiety over these things is a great waste of energy. If you’re worried about tomorrow and it’s still today, you’re robbing the joy your day and wasting it on something that’s not even here yet. Again, Jesus commands us to “not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt 6:34). Worrying about tomorrow is borrowing trouble with interest, but paying the note today. It’s a joy-killer. It also robs us of peace of mind. We know that worry is not good for our health, and neither does it do any good for the mind, so what’s the solution? I don’t have it…rather, it’s found in the Bible.
Anxiety to Peace
You don’t overcome anxiety by sheer human will power or positive thinking. The best way to kill the anxiety is to pray. Not just pray about the problems, but pray about everything! Anything and everything that causes you to be anxious, send it up to God in prayer.
Jesus knows we try to carry our own load far too often, and so He says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt 11:28-30).
The Greek word used for “souls” is not the living, breathing soul but our minds…Jesus wants us to rest in Him, therefore, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6).
Everything that concerns you is a concern of the Father, so submit it all to God and do so with a thankful heart. Either way, make sure to at least make it “known to God” and not shoulder the load yourself. Only by turning it all over to prayer can you receive “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
Peace through Christ
Jesus told Martha, who was anxious over the many things she had to do, that “you are anxious and troubled about many things but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). Mary choose to focus on Christ and not on a “to do” list.
The Apostle Paul tells us that “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). That means we should not be anxious about our salvation since we are now at peace with God through Jesus Christ.If you have made peace with God through Christ, that means “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1) anymore. You can have peace of mind and peace of heart knowing God’s wrath was placed upon Christ and not upon you, but Jesus said we must repent and believe (Mark 1:15).
When that happens, we become new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), and now we are seen by God as having Jesus’ very own righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). Being born again, or born from above (John 3:3-7) doesn’t make us any better than others…only better off.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to worry about nothing but pray about everything. That’s the way to destroy your anxiety. We know worry is sin but most of us do it anyway, so why not confess this and put your trust in the sovereignty of God (Rom 8:28).
When you’re giving thanks to God, it’s difficult to be anxious. When you’re taking every heavy load of life to Christ (Matt 11:28-30), it’s hard to be anxious, and when you’re praying to God with a thankful heart, it’s hard to be anxious.
Anxiety dissolves with trust, but trust gives you peace. This God-given peace surpasses human understanding because its source is not of human origin. This peace can give us confidence despite the problems that surround us. That’s why this godly peace guards our hearts.
We can’t guard our own hearts so let God’s peace rule in your hearts.
Even if we pray about the things that produce anxiety in us, and the things don’t change, what does change is our hearts. Circumstances may have changed, but we have. We have peace because we trust God more than our anxieties.
By the way, you cannot even have the peace of God until you’ve first made peace with God, and that comes through a saving relationship through Jesus Christ. He alone can bring us to the Father (John 6:44; Acts 4:12). He alone can bear every heavy burden we have.
He alone can extinguish the anxiety and replace it with the peace of God. It really is a peace that surpasses human understanding.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas.
Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.
Be anxious for nothing – is this really possible?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6.
Can you really be anxious for nothing? The Bible was written in a simpler time, do verses this still apply in today’s world with all its stresses and demands?
The Bible tells us not to be anxious, but is this actually a reasonable demand in this current day and age? How is it possible to be completely free from worry and stress when there’s so much to deal with? What if you end up losing your job unexpectedly and can’t make rent? What if your life doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? What if you fail your exams? What if you end up working fast food for the rest of your life and never end up in your dream job or never even get to travel? How can you know for sure that you will be successful? What if? How will you know? What would happen if…?
You can find reasons to be anxious anywhere and everywhere. You can think it is necessary to be stressed and anxious about these things. Isn’t it logical to worry about the future? But the Bible doesn’t tell us to be anxious for only the really important, big questions in our life. It tells us to be anxious for nothing!
Anxiety and God
So then the only question becomes: do you believe in the Bible?
“For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:32-33.
God is faithful. That doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want, but what He has promised! So what has God promised us? He has promised that “all these things shall be added to us.” Does that mean that we will get everything just handed to us on a silver platter? Far from it! There is a condition we must meet first and that condition is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness!
How do we seek first the kingdom of God? We simply do God’s will! God wants us to obey what’s written in the Bible. He wants us to find the sin in our own nature in every situation and to get victory over that sin! He wants us to become free from anxiety and worry. He wants us to be faithful!
The opposite of anxiety
The opposite of anxiety is faith. In faith you can go through life on earth and make all of your decisions confidently because God will guide you in every single detail.
Faith is complete, blind obedience. Faith is that you do what God tells you before knowing what the result will be.
Faith isn’t that you understand everything – faith is doing it anyway because you trust in God’s perfect care and guidance!
Read God’s Word, pray to Him, and do His will even if you don’t understand every tiny detail. This is how you can seek God’s kingdom first! Do this and God will take care of you.
Also read: Cast all your care upon God: A practical solution that works
That still doesn’t mean that you will get everything floated down to you from heaven either. God never promised that we would always have a big house and a cushy job, that we would always have a comfortable income and perfect health. Of course there will be trials to test us!
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
It doesn’t say that all things work together for the easiest, most comfortable life! It says that all things work together for our good. God knows exactly what it takes to make us happy both in this life and the next. Even if you can’t immediately see why God works the way He does, you can go in faith and be obedient anyway!
We must leave all of our own concerns and anxieties behind and simply go in faith. Seek His kingdom first! As long as we are faithful to do everything God puts on our hearts, He will be faithful to take care of us, both now and in eternity. Then there really isn’t anything to be anxious about! Then we can “be anxious for nothing!”
Do you feel you have reason to worry? Read this testimony.Read more on how to win the battleAlmost all talk of battles and wars when concerning a Christian life refers to the inner battle that arises when a sinful thought tempts you. God’s Spirit and the flesh are at odds. When you have decided to only do … against worry and anxiety here
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Profound! How To Be Anxious For NOTHING?
One of the commands I don’t take as seriously as I should is Paul’s exhortation to, “Be anxious for nothing.”
To my shame, I treat it more as a suggestion than command. Sort of Good Housekeeping-esque tips for better living, which fit right in next to articles , “45 Tips To Lose That Stubborn Belly Fat,” and, “How To Keep Those Pesky Avocados Fresh.”
(Side note: Is it just me or do avocados have a shelf life of approximately six seconds?)
The surrounding verses, which are both staggeringly comforting and incredibly challenging, say:
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 (Philippians 4:6-7).
Be Anxious For Nothing? How Is That Possible?
On the surface, this seems one of those, “Surely, you can’t be serious,” kind of commands.
I mean, anxious for nothing? For NOTHING? In many ways, life is a giant, mottled gray tapestry of worries, anxieties, struggles, and fears.
- Will I have enough to pay the bills?
- Will my child recover from this sickness?
- Will I have enough time to get all my work done and still spend time with the family?
- Will I need to take care of my parents?
You get the point.
How can anyone possibly be anxious for nothing?
To say that there are lot of opportunities to be anxious and worried is saying Michael Bay s the occasional explosion or people on the Keto diet telling you that they’re on the diet.
Life is absolutely full of temptations to be anxious.
That’s why when Paul says, “Do not be anxious for anything,” my response is often, “Surely, you can’t be serious.”
And yet, Paul (and the Lord) is very serious when he says, “Be anxious for nothing.”
Anxiety, fear, and worry are no small things in God’s eyes. When we’re anxious, we are, in essence, saying that we don’t believe God is able to take care of us. We’re saying that God isn’t powerful or caring enough to meet all our needs and sustain us through all our trials.
When we're anxious, we are, in essence, saying that we don't believe God is able to take care of us.Click to Tweet
We’re the Israelites immediately after God freed them from the Egyptians and brought them to the Red Sea. As the Egyptians were bearing down on them, they said:
They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us Egypt?
Even though the Israelites had witnessed God’s staggering power and relentless love, they doubted his care. Even though they had seen him turn the Nile river into blood and kill the first born Egyptian sons, they refused to trust him.This sent them into a spiral of crushing worry and anxiety.
Of course, this leads to the obvious question: givenhow many anxieties we face, how can we possibly be anxious for nothing?
Be Anxious For Nothing Through Prayer and Supplication
Paul doesn’t call us to some sort of stoic, what will be will be, approach to anxiety. It’s not about keeping calm and carrying on, all the while munching on biscuits slathered in marmite (or whatever it is Brits to eat).
Instead, Paul presents two solutions that enable us to be anxious for nothing: prayer and supplication.
More specifically, he says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication.” In other words, the only way to be anxious for nothing is to constantly deploy prayer and supplication.
I have to admit that, at least on the surface, this solution seems a tad…I don’t know…simple.
I mean, we all know that prayer is important and that we’re supposed to constantly present our requests to God.
But, come on.
Be anxious for nothing?
Isn’t something more needed than simple prayer and supplication? To quote the brilliant theologian Taylor Swift, “Bandaids won’t fix bullet holes.”
Surely, the bullet holes of anxiety require a bit more than simple prayer.
Again and again in scripture, the cure for worry and anxiety is going to God in prayer. Peter says, “…[cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” How do we cast our crushing cares and fears and anxieties upon the Lord?
How do we unburden ourselves to the point where we aren’t anxious about anything?
Through prayer.By laying our heavy burdens upon the back of the one who rules and reigns over all things. By bringing all of our fears and worries to the Lord and laying them at his feet.
There’s only one person capable of bearing the burdens presented each day, and it’s not us. When we try to bear all the burdens on our own, we are giving into the lie of self-sufficiency. We are believing that we have sufficient strength to conquer all that we encounter each day. This, of course, is utter lunacy.
Be Anxious For Nothing By Seeking First The Kingdom of God
Jesus puts it this way:
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:31-33).
Jesus commands us not to be anxious and instead tells us to direct our attention and action to seeking God’s kingdom. One of the primary ways that we seek God’s kingdom is through prayer and supplication.
Prayer isn’t a last-ditch resort for when the pressure cooker (or Instapot) is cranked up to 11.
Prayer is a divine invitation from the omnipotent God – the one who sustains all things, the one who keeps the planets from careening into each other, the one who keeps our hearts from blundering into cardiac arrest – to unburden ourselves.
To bring all our cares and anxieties and fears to the King of Kings and lay them at his feet.
To say, “God, I’m not enough, but you are.”
Prayer is a summons from God to be anxious for nothing.
Prayer is saying to God, “Lord, I am too weak and fragile and scared and unsophisticated to figure everything out. I simply can’t handle all this. I can’t sustain myself, bear my burdens, or be the problem solver. I. Need. You.”
In his outstanding book A Praying Life, Paul Miller puts it this way:
I love that little phrase, “…the eternal God scrubs floors.”
Be Anxious For Nothing By Asking, Seeking, and Knocking
There is no request or anxiety or need too small (or large) to present to the Lord. He is a good, gracious Father who delights to take care of his children. He invites us to bring all our needs – the tight budget, the scary diagnoses, the exhaustion from the week, the frustrations at work – to him.
There is nothing too small for his care or too large for his sovereign control.
My daughter, Ella, has the somewhat-obnoxious habit of constantly asking for things, even if we just gave her something. If she had cake for dessert, she wants cookies for second dessert. If we just bought her new shoes, she asks for new boots too.
And I’m not always patient or gracious with her. Sometimes I just get plain annoyed.But I would NEVER want her to stop asking me for things. I’m her dad, and few things make me happier than blessing her. Few things give me more pleasure than meeting her little, 8-year old needs. And if that’s my sinful, grumpy, knock-it-off attitude, imagine what God’s attitude is.
Jesus wants us to have the same attitude as Ella. That’s why he says:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
How do we be anxious for nothing? We bring every need and worry and anxiety to our Father and lay it at his feet.
But there’s one more thing.
Be Anxious For Nothing Through Faith
There is one more thing required in order to be anxious for nothing. One more ingredient to throw in the “peace that passes understanding” recipe.
That ingredient is faith.
It’s not enough to simply pray to God. If we’re truly going to be anxious for nothing, our prayers must be intertwined with faith.
- Faith in God’s promises to always provide.
- Faith in God’s good, generous character.
- Faith in God’s steadfast love, which will never leave or forsake us.
- Faith in God’s ability to answer every prayer.
Prayer without faith is a car without gasoline. It won’t get you anywhere. Frankly, praying without faith is insulting to God.
It’s when my kids preface a request with, “You’re probably going to say no.” It makes me sad when they say that (unless they’re asking for something truly outlandish, being able to draw on my car with permanent marker). I love blessing my kids, and when their assumption is that I’ll say, “No,” it hurts.
In James 5:15, when describing the elders of a church praying for a sick person, he says, “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”
It’s the prayer of faith that prompts God to heal a person. It’s the prayer of faith that moves God to meet every need. It’s the prayer of faith that…
…restores a wayward child.…opens the door for a new job.
…enables you to serve in ways that you don’t .
Rejoice in the Lord Always (Session One, Anxious for Nothing)
Editor’s note: There’s a good reason that Max Lucado is called “America’s Pastor.” He has his finger on the pulse of the nation and words of healing and hope to share.
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With Max’s help and God’s loving guidance, we hope that these free resources will help you work through seasons of struggle and times of worry.
Welcome to Session One of the Anxious for Nothing Bible Study Curriculum.
We can’t run the world, but we can entrust it to God. Peace is within reach, not for lack of problems, but for the presence of a sovereign Lord. Rather than rehearse the chaos of the world, we can choose to rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty.
by Max’s daughter, Jenna Lucado Bishop
When I (Jenna) was growing up, my dad had school drop-off duty. And without fail, every morning as he slowed the car to a stop and we hurriedly unbuckled our seat belts, grabbed our backpacks, and threw open the doors, he would give the same exhortation: “Girls, have a good day. Laugh a lot. Learn a lot. And don’t forget who gave it to ya.”
I never thought much about the phrase growing up. My sisters and I would just robotically say it with him and then quickly yell, “Okay, Dad!” before slamming the car doors shut.
Laugh, learn, remember.
As a young girl I naturally did just that. Laughing came easily. Learning was fun. Remembering God as the Giver of my day? It wasn’t always on my mind, but I never doubted God was with me and cared for me.But then I started to grow up. And with growing up came more responsibility. And with more responsibility came anxiety. It wasn’t long before homework hours lengthened, friends hurt me, and I hurt them.
Pretty soon I was taking my SATs, learning how to interview for jobs, paying bills. Marriage brought deep joy, but also deep struggles. Cancer invaded the family, and my heroes in life passed away.
Babies were born — yet another level of worry.
The older I got, the less I naturally lived my dad’s exhortation to laugh, learn, and remember. The serious struggles of life squelched laughter. The joy of learning turned into pressure to achieve. And remembering God? The anxieties of life pushed out thoughts of Him.
That’s why it’s hard for me to accept Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4,
Rejoice in the Lord always.
Always? How are we supposed to do that with the pain and anxiety of life?
In this session, we will see that rejoicing in the Lord does not mean we are in a constant state of excitement. We don’t have to carry a guitar around and sing worship songs all day. It’s not about plastering on a fake smile as we walk through a dark time. No, rejoicing in the Lord always is about a deep remembering.
Remembering that the Lord is here, always. Remembering that the Lord is in control, always. Remembering that the Lord is not only the giver of your day but also the ordainer of every minute inside of it, always.
Remembering that amidst the pressures, pain, and anxiety in life, He is sovereign, always. As we remember, I have an inkling we may discover the carefree child we used to be. Laughing a lot more. Learning a lot more.
And not forgetting who is with us through it all.
Talk About It
To get things started, discuss one of the following questions:
- What interested you about this study? What do you hope to learn, and how do you hope to change because of it?
- Describe someone in your life who embodies what it means to “rejoice in the Lord always.” What does this person do or say to exude a heart with this attitude toward God?
Hearing the Word
Read Philippians 4:4-8 aloud as a group. This will be the theme passage for the next five sessions, so try to look at these words with new eyes and an open heart. Then read it again silently, circling or underlining words that stand out to you.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.Turn to the person next to you and take turns sharing your answers to the following questions:
What was one thing that stood out to you from the passage?
Why do these words stand out to you, and what fresh insight do they bring?
What does “rejoicing in the Lord” mean? In your life, have you found it difficult or natural to rejoice in the Lord? Why?
Video Teaching Notes
Play the video segment for session one. As you watch, use the following outline to record any thoughts or concepts that stand out to you.
Anxiety is not so much the onslaught of a storm as the continual threat that one is coming. It’s a big heap of “what ifs.”
The word anxiety actually comes from a Latin root that means “to choke” or “to squeeze.” Its strong grip interrupts your sleep, chokes your energy, and harms your overall well-being.
Anxiety is a close cousin to fear, but the two are not twins. Fear sees a threat, while anxiety imagines one.
We have been taught the Christian life is one of peace. When we don’t have peace, we assume the problem is within us, which leads us to feel guilty. But while the presence of anxiety is unavoidable, the prison of anxiety is optional.
When Paul writes to “be anxious for nothing,” he is referring to an ongoing state. His words could be translated, “Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually in angst and breathless.”
Paul’s prescription for anxiety is a call to “rejoice in the Lord.” This is not a call to a feeling but to a decision.The sovereignty of God refers to His perfect governing over all things. God works in and through every detail of his creation to accomplish His divine purpose. We have the astounding privilege to be a part of this perfect plan.
To rejoice in the Lord, we must have a deep belief in His sovereignty over our lives. The more we believe in His control, the more we relinquish our control.
Bible Study and Group Discussion
Take a few minutes with your group members to discuss what you just watched and explore these concepts in Scripture.
- Before everyone shares in the large group, turn to one or two people next to you and finish this sentence: “After watching the video, one question I now have is…”
- Stress-related ailments cost the United States billions of dollars every year. Why do you think the nation leading much of the world in infrastructure, education, democracy, and more is also leading the world in anxiety? Why would Americans suffer from anxiety more than people of lesser developed countries?
- Scripture includes many verses that can bring comfort and peace to the worried heart. Read Psalm 56:3; Matthew 6:25-34; and 1 Peter 5:6-8. What prescription does each passage give for anxiety?
- How does the world teach us to cope with anxiety? How does the world’s solution for anxiety differ from God’s solution?
- Eugene Peterson says, “[The fact] that God followers don’t get preferential treatment in life always comes as a surprise.”2 Have you ever expected special treatment from God? If so, how did it affect your relationship with him when you experienced hard times?
- Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 aloud. What trials did Paul face? Now read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, where Paul talks about a constant trial God would not take away. What is God’s response to Paul’s prayer in verse 9? How does God display His strength when we are feeling weak or anxious?
- The first prescription Paul gives for anxiety is this: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Hundreds of years before Paul wrote his letter, the prophet Habakkuk wrote similar words. Read Habakkuk 3:17-19. How does Habakkuk describe God in these verses? What names does Habakkuk use for God? Why does Habakkuk say he can rejoice in God though the fig trees wither and crops fail?
- If you want to rejoice in God regardless of your circumstances, it is crucial that you learn to trust in His sovereignty. What prevents you from trusting in the sovereignty of God? How does trusting in God’s sovereignty affect the way you perceive life’s trials?
For this activity, each participant will need a sheet of paper, a pen, and an envelope.
In today’s session, Max described the difference between fear and anxiety. Fear sees a threat, while anxiety imagines one. Fear screams, “Get out!” Anxiety ponders, “What if?” Take a minute to write down three “what ifs” that are causing you anxiety — three worries that are weighing you down.
Once you are finished, fold up the piece of paper and tuck it away in the envelope. Write your name on the outside of the envelope and give it to your group leader.
At the end of this study, the group leader will pass out the individual envelopes so you can reevaluate the list and see how God has brought supernatural peace to these anxious places in your heart.
Wrap up this time by talking to the Father. Your group may want to begin the prayer time by reading aloud Isaiah 45:9-12, a powerful passage about the sovereignty of God:
Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground.
Does the clay say to the potter, “What are you making?”
Does your work say,“The potter has no hands”?
Woe to the one who says to a father, “What have you begotten?”
or to a mother,“What have you brought to birth?”
is is what the Lord says — the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Concerning things to come, do you question Me about My children, or give Me orders about the work of My hands?
It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it.My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.
Now take some time to pray for one another. Split up into groups of two or three or circle up and pray for the person next to you. Here are a few suggestions of ways to pray for one another:
- Ask the Lord to give you a deeper trust in His sovereignty so you can rejoice in Him no matter what circumstances come your way.
- Use the passage you just read in Isaiah 45:9-12 and declare its promises and/or truth over the person you are praying for. (Insert the person’s name into the verse, or simply ask that the truth of this verse would be true in his or her life.)
- Ask the Lord to overwhelm the anxious thoughts you each wrote down earlier with the supernatural peace He promises in Philippians 4:7.
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