Combating Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Paul’s words present a challenge for me. “Do not be anxious . . . about anything?” This seems like an impossible task. The truth of the matter is anxiety sometimes creeps in when I’m unaware. Worry consumes me when I least expect it and causes me to move ahead of God’s timing. Worry is something that hampers our expectations and hinders our forward movement. So how do we avoid it? Three words— prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. We can combat anxiety head-on when we employ these precious gifts which are always at our disposal.

By prayer . . . Prayer is a beautiful gift that we possess. We have the ability to “come boldly to the throne of grace and find help in our time of need” (Hebrew 4:16). This is how anxiety is kept at bay; The One who sits on the throne extends grace to us when we need it. We come in confidence that we will not receive chiding or rejection, but we will get the help we need. Prayer is the sweetest form of communication between a Father and His children. This two-way communication does not always involve asking, but should also include worship and praise given to The Father and times of listening to receive divine direction. Paul includes a Word about prayer as he ends his description about the Armor of God. He did not name prayer as a piece of armor, but did relay the importance of this very powerful, effective weapon. (Ephesians 6:18)

And supplication. . .Supplication speaks of persistent prayer. We are admonished in scripture to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) this does not mean non-stop as in always talking, but a persistent, recurring petition before the Lord. There are times when we need to persistently petition the Lord. This is not because He doesn’t hear, or because He wants us to beg. Jesus told the disciples to always pray and do not lose heart. He went on to tell a parable of the widow and the unjust judge. The widow came to the judge demanding justice. The judge initially disregarded the woman. This didn’t stop or deter her; she came continually with the same request. Eventually, the widow wore down the judge! That’s some persistence. The difference is, though, this judge did not care about the woman. We, however have a Judge who also advocates for us. We have One who sees the injustices we face and comes to rescue (see Luke 18:1-8). Matthew 7:7-8, in its truest translation tells us to keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking, because we will receive.

With thanksgiving. . .It may seem crazy to be thankful in the midst of anxiety, but it is so worth it to do so. Not only that, but it is God’s will for you! In everything give thanks, no matter what the situation, give thanks. You have something to be thankful for. Look around! Little things, big things, or no “thing” at all—friends, family, health, employment, love, joy, shelter, laughter, hope, adventure, rest. Take a look at the list again. If you can’t find anything on it that you are thankful for, thank God for life! (I know you are alive if you are still reading). When you begin to thank God for what you have, it takes your attention away from what you don’t have, from those things that steal our joy and bring anxiety.

Don’t allow prayer, supplication and thanksgiving to be your last resort. Instead, let it be a first response in anxiety producing situations. When things surface that threaten your peace, pray, petition the Lord with your request and thank Him for working in your behalf! It’s then when God’s peace will reign in your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).

1337995D-753A-49D9-8281-FA96C8AEB005WORDS OF LIFE
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints Ephesians 6:18

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 he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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