From my friend Ellie Waldron who is Co-Leader of Grief Share Counseling at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville Florida DEVOTIONAL FOR FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2015
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. 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, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
As always, Scripture has the answer, not only for worry and anxiety, but for every challenge we face in life. God was very thorough when He gave us His Book of Instructions (the Holy Bible). He knows and understands and provides a way for our lives to be, not just better, but the very best. His prescription for anxiety is: Worry about NOTHING. Pray about EVERYTHING.
However, the remedy to worry involves a CHOICE. He doesn’t ask us to live in a state of denial or fail to appreciate the seriousness of our concerns. We worry because the problems we face are difficult to solve. Furthermore, they have grave consequences if we can’t find a resolution. Beloved, God doesn’t expect you to suddenly stop caring. He offers an alternative to the pointless and exhausting habit of worry: “Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by PRAYER and SUPPLICATION (humbly ask) with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.”
No doubt, sometime today you will have another occasion to CHOOSE between worry and prayer. (I’d much rather pray than worry). Determine NOW what you will do. Decide BEFORE that crisis arises that you will transform the worry into prayer. If at the end of praying, your emotions are still in a turmoil, pray some more! The discipline of prayer brings us closer to our goal of intimacy with God. As you cultivate the discipline of prayer, you will discover the ability to remain calm and quiet. As you wait before the Lord, you’ll find relief from fear’s grip on your spirit.
You might be tempted to think that your prayer was ineffective or that you somehow failed because your anxiety returned—perhaps as soon as you said “Amen.” It happens all the time. I take my persistent anxiety as a signal that I need more time before the Father, reviewing all the details of my problem, telling Him how much it plagues me, and sometimes even admitting that I’m afraid He won’t handle it soon enough. God appreciates our honesty. He knows our minds and hearts and expects us to be honest with Him and ourselves about how we feel—and about our doubts and fears. But having a deep persistent concern for a problem is NOT the same as worry. Worry is CHOOSING to fret and churn instead of turning it completely over to God.
Men and women of prayer go before God because their hearts are heavy. They know that nothing but continual conversation with Him brings them relief. So, beloved of God, if you tend to worry a lot, here’s a better plan—pray a LOT. For such a blessed relief to become a reality, you will have to exercise the discipline of SURRENDER as you rely on Him to solve the problem….in His way and in His time. So release it to Him—Lord, this is Your problem to fix. You take control. Let me know what You want me to do if I’m to be involved in the solution. I’m leaving it with You and I consider it solved. At that point, discipline your mind not to worry, not to continue seeking answers or trying to find resolution. You solved the problem when you gave it to God. Your responsibility now is to wait for His leading. If He wants you to be involved, He’ll let you know. As you wait before Him, He will direct your thoughts to the next step you should take. If there is nothing more, He will take it from there. Be at peace—rest in Him.
Involve Him in every aspect of your life, dear one. Begin your day with prayer and continue praying throughout the day. Pray as you drive. Pray at work. Pray when you get that difficult phone call. Pray when someone or something disappoints you. Pray when surprises come. Pray when you triumph. Pray in the midst of painful news. In other words, “pray without ceasing”—literally. Your heavenly Father is deeply touched over your struggles, and loves it when you come to Him asking for help. He is right there, ready to step in—but you must ask. He says to us: “Come unto me. I will give you rest. Bring Me every burden. Bring Me every care. I AM ALMIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER, PRINCE OF PEACE—I AM WORTHY! TRUST ME!”
Heavenly Father, You are worthy! I place my trust in You to carry my all my burdens. I will not fear for You are with me. I will not be anxious for You are my God. You strengthen me and with Your righteous right hand You uphold me. There is nothing too difficult for You. I will not fear for You have redeemed me and called me to righteousness and I am Yours. You have promised to be with me through every circumstance. Abba Father, Please forgive me for the times I placed my burdens and cares at Your feet and became impatient and picked them up again instead of trusting You. How foolish! Once again, I had to learn the hard way that Your way is best. But You have put gladness in my heart. I will not be anxious. In Your peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety…..
In Christ alone and for His glory, Ellie
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