Do you struggle with anxiety? Do you long for peace in your relationships, work, or finances? God promises that when we pray in a certain way, we will experience His supernatural peace and power.
Philippians 4:6 says: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. When we pray in this way, God promises that His surpassing peace,“which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (v. 7)
The framework we get from this prayer is ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. In previous articles, I talked about the first three words in the ACTS acronym. The fourth and last word conveys the idea of making a very specific “grocery list” of issues and bringing them to God.
I believe that one of the reasons a lot of people – even good Christians – don’t experience God in their prayers is that they pray very vague prayers. “Lord, bless my children. Lord, give me a good day. Lord, I hope things will go well. Lord, would You help?”
The problem with this type of prayer is that we may never know whether He answered it or not. As someone once said, nothing really becomes dynamic until it becomes specific.
In Matthew 7, Jesus describes a picture of a child who comes before his father and asks him for something specific. He also makes it clear that the father is not going to give him something bad. The same is true for us as God’s children. We can be certain that when we pray specific prayers, God will answer.
So what might this type of prayer look like?
When I’m feeling anxious, I take some very specific things to God and I write them down in my journal. I write things like, “Lord, show me what I need to do, specifically, today, to repair the relationship with my wife.” Or “Lord, will You give me discernment today about what I am supposed to do in the meeting with Bob?” Then, I make a little box next to my requests, so that later, I can go back and put a checkmark next to the prayer requests as they are being answered.
Not only do I experience His peace, but I also get to see how the God of the Universe shows up in my life in specific ways. It’s a confirmation that He is for me. When I ask, He answers. When I seek, He comes. When I knock, doors open.
So the next time anxiety knocks at the door of your heart, let prayer answer. But not just any kind of prayer. Spend some time adoring God, confessing, thanking Him, and finally, making specific requests. Our Father, who is in heaven, loves you and cares for you. Bring Him your needs and He will take care of them.
To learn more about prayer, sign up for our FREE online discipleship series entitled “How to Experience God in Prayer.”
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip