Has your life become a pressure-packed race, a marathon of dealing with trivial pursuits and inconsequential irritations, distracting anxieties and unwarranted fears? Could your life be described by the philosopher Thoreau as “one of quiet desperation”?
I think it’s impossible to consider what the Bible says about worry without examining Paul’s message in Philippians 4:6-7. “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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This basic approach to worries and concerns will ultimately lead to inner peace.
A Replacement for Worry
Always replace your worries with prayer. The underlying foundation for this procedure is trust. When we worry, we’re actually trying to exercise control over the future, a control God has simply not given us—since He’s the only sovereign of the universe. When we refuse to worry and replace worry with prayer, we actually commit our concerns to the only One who is capable of doing anything about them, the Lord Himself.
Paul’s terminology is drastic: “In nothing be anxious . . . In everything, let your petitions be made known before God.” Clearly from the apostle’s words in these passages, it’s wrong for us to worry. Yet, worry we do—in fact, to some degree worry has become the national pastime of believers. Paul was clearly aware that his friends at Philippi were be concerned over a wide range of issues, probably to the point where they were distracted from faithfully serving the Lord.
So he suggested to them an alternative to anxiety—a replacement for worry. In a word, Paul’s replacement strategy is prayer. Paul’s basic principle is, Whenever worry surfaces in your life, replace it with prayer.
Worry Is A Signal
Whenever you find yourself worrying about anything, allow that worry to signal you to bring it into the Lord’s presence through prayer. To put it even more simply: Worry is a signal to pray; and when you start praying on a serious level, you will find it impossible to keep worrying. Nothing is too big for this principle to apply, nor is anything too small.
If we are ever to experience inner peace, it will only come about as we learn to replace worries with prayer. This means linking the two in your mind so that whenever you recognize the presence of worry, it automatically triggers your “prayer reflex.”
So for the believer, rooted in God’s truth, it’s possible to face worries with an unshakeable calm.
Dr. Don Hawkins