When I first trusted Christ in the summer of 1972, I encountered peace like I’d never known. When I handed off my problems and anxieties to a personal, all-loving God, His peace washed over me. In Philippians 4, Paul unpacks four specific kinds of prayer to “answer the door” when anxiety comes knocking on it.
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 4:6-7 NASB 1995
Dear Ministry Partner,
I didn’t grow up as a follower of Christ, but in my late teens, I encountered a group of people whose lives were radically different from mine. I wanted what they had. They explained that not only does God love me but that I could have a personal relationship with Him—I could have peace with God.
When I trusted Christ the summer of 1972, I learned how to talk to Him, and I began to hear His voice through Scripture. Over time, my driven, intense personality and deep insecurities gradually gave way to a peaceful tranquility that was foreign to me. People close to me, especially my father, noticed my calmer demeanor. For the first time in my life, I was at peace with myself and became less concerned with impressing people and caring what others thought of me.
Thanks to the bricklayer who discipled me, I learned the power of casting my anxieties on God and realizing how much He cares about me (1 Peter 5:7). When I handed off my problems, struggles, and anxieties to a personal, all loving God—understanding that I am the object of His affection—PEACE replaced the anxiety and pressure I felt. After more than a half century of walking with Jesus, I’m still very much a work in progress, but I marvel at the peace only He can give, no matter the circumstances.
So far this year, we’ve talked about Paul’s challenge to the church in Philippi to CHOOSE JOY and CHOOSE LOVE. This month, we turn our attention to CHOOSING PEACE. Paul knew from his own experience that choosing peace—even during horrendous, difficult, uncertain times—is possible.
In Philippians 4:6, Paul starts with a negative command, stop worrying about anything, and then unpacks a four-part spiritual game plan for accomplishing it, pray about everything.
Stop Worrying About Anything
Anticipating misfortune, danger, and doom comes naturally to us as we live in this broken world. But we must not let anxiety, restlessness, and dread (and their cousins concern, worry, and tension) consume us. Causes of anxiety often include fear of the future, conflicts in the present, and regrets over the past.
Unleashed anxiety is toxic mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It can literally ruin our lives, delivering dangerous physical maladies, sapping our energy, and rendering us weak and ineffective. Knowing the damage and destruction that anxiety brings, Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything. And then he unpacks four specific kinds of prayer to “answer the door” when anxiety comes knocking on it.
Pray About Everything
1. PRAYER: Begin by getting a high, clear view of God through worship and adoration. Turn your thoughts upward, focusing on who He is. When you fix your eyes on how great God is, your problems and anxieties will pale in comparison.
2. PETITION: Second, pour out your heart and your needs to God, confessing that you are desperate for His help. Admit that you can’t solve your problems in your own strength, and approach God in humility and dependence. Cast your cares on Him.
3. THANKSGIVING: Third, shift your focus and choose to thank God for what He has already done. Praise Him for answered prayers, blessings in your life, and ways He has shown you His love and favor. Focus on God’s goodness rather than on your cares and stresses. Thank your way into His presence!
4. REQUESTS: Finally, turn your anxious thoughts into very specific prayer requests by listing them one by one before the Lord. Write them down and keep track of how and when God answers.
And what happens when you pray about everything? Picture a young child having a bad dream in the middle of the night. When he gets to his parents’ bedside, he receives a big hug and is scooped up into bed. Within moments, he’s sound asleep, safe in his parents’ loving arms.
God wants to bring you comfort and safety in the midst of your struggles. He is ready, willing, and able to give you peace—the kind that surpasses all understanding. You see, peace and anxiety simply cannot coexist. My prayer for you today is that you will be strengthened and freed from anxiety as you apply these simple yet profound principles to CHOOSE PEACE.
As I reflect on the good things that God has done, I can’t help but pause and say, “THANK YOU!” Your continued partnership, prayer support, and generosity fuel our efforts to help Christians live like Christians all over the world.
I’ve included a Ministry Impact Highlights with this month’s Coffee Break to celebrate what God accomplished through our ministry partnership in 2022. Please take some time to review it and join me in giving Him glory for the countless lives being changed by the Truth of His Word. With your continued support, we will move forward with the plans that God has called us to.
Pressing ahead TOGETHER,
CEO and Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Living on the Edge helps Christians bring their faith to life by living before God, in community and on mission.