Scripture: Philippians 4:6-7
The promise: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…”
Observation: Paul tells the Philippians not to worry about anything but rather pray about everything. He encourages them to be open with God and praise him for all he’s done. When they do, they will experience peace.
Application: Life is constantly full of questions – what will I do about this? How will I deal with that? What will happen with that relationship? How will I pay for that big bill? Should I say “yes” or “no” to that opportunity? Many times, all of those questions lead to worries and anxieties that dominate our thoughts – and all too often – our hearts.
Questions will never go away, but there is an answer far better than worry: prayer.
Paul encourages the Philippians by saying, “Instead of worrying, pray first.”
His words aren’t just for the people of Philipi; they’re for us, too.
When we have a big decision to make, pray first.
When we have a hard conversation looming, pray first.
When we’re feeling lost or confused or anxious, pray first.
When we lead a meeting or teach a lesson or make a presentation, pray first.
When we go on a date night, pray first.
Before we speculate, before we worry, before we ask someone else for advice, before we make a pro/con list, before all else – pray first.
Because our God is listening and he cares deeply about the things that have the potential to worry us.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
When we choose prayer instead of worry, God promises us peace.
We may not get the answer we think we want, we may not get clarity as soon as we want, but we get some far more valuable: we get peace.
Our worries are disruptions and distractions from the life God intended for us to live – a life that isn’t dependent on our circumstances but rather on the God who offers us peace, joy, and hope despite our circumstances.
Prayer is a way of trusting God instead of ourselves. When we pray, we are trusting that God is in-control, and he will never leave us or forsake us or stop loving us.
Feeling restless? Confused? Discouraged? Doubtful?
Pray first. Your genuine, heartfelt prayers promise peace.
Prayer: God, I bring you my worries, all of the things that are distracting me, overwhelming me, causing me anxiety. I offer them to you, knowing you are far bigger and greater than even my greatest worry. I pray I can rest in the peace of who you are today. Amen.
Digging deeper: Take a few minutes to memorize today's focus verse. Write it on a sticky note to put on your car dashboard or mirror, set it as the lock screen on your phone, say it aloud a few times throughout the day -- whatever will help make it stick.