Philippians 4:6-7,19 | Mark 10:14b | Psalm 34:4-5
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.
The apostle Paul gives some really simple advice to his fellow believers in Philippi:
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, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
When you feel yourself worrying, just pray…? It almost seems too simple, doesn’t it! On the other hand, if it were complicated…that would just add more to your already full plate. “When you start to worry, just carefully follow these ten steps–in order…” You would spontaneously combust.
Maybe you need the childlike innocence Jesus described to follow such simple advice.
He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”(Mark 10:14b NLT)
Trusting God seems simplistic only to those who have never done it. If that is you, please understand that your circumstances–your every breath, even–are already in God’s hands.
So ask yourself, “Does he love me?” Then, “Can I trust him?” Then finally, give it a shot. Pray to the Lord about your problem, and stop worrying about what will happen.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.(Psalm 34:4-5 NLT)
Just knowing that you are in your loving father’s hands can brighten your face. And like Abby told Alex, you might be able to see the bigger picture right now. When you can, it might not be so bad.
Either way, take your problem to God and trust him to take care of you.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:19 NLT)
Questions for Group Discussion
- When you are faced with an overwhelming problem, is prayer one of the first things you do? Why, or why not?
- Why is it difficult sometimes to trust God with our problems? Does it mess with your independence? Does it make you feel lazy? Do you feel irresponsible?
- Could giving your problem to God be a ‘cop-out’? If you are trusting God to help you, should you do anything to help yourself? Should you just do nothing and expect God to clear everything up?
Challenge: Peace Out
Write down your biggest worry at the moment. Maybe it is an upcoming exam. Maybe it is illness or the threat of injury. Maybe it is a family situation.
Now write down a worst-case outcome of that situation. What would it look like if the bottom dropped out, and your fears were realized? Don’t spend much time on this one… Seriously, don’t.
Next, lay out a best-case scenario. Pull out the stops and go nuts. Maybe as a result of this worrisome thing, you and yours come out way ahead. Could be possible… Or not. But go big on this one.
Set what you have written aside and pray. Get somewhere private and get really honest with God. If you are mad at him or not sure of whether he will help with this situation, let him know. Confess your fault in any part of the situation that’s worrying you. Confess a lack of faith if you need to. And ask God to show himself in this situation. Ask him to build your faith in him through it.
Once you have prayed, take a moment to write down what you remember of the prayer. Put that with the rest of what you have written and then keep the whole lot of it in a safe place.
In the days that follow, keep praying about the situation–remember to update your notes–and ask God what you can do about it. You may not need to do anything about it but keep praying. Otherwise, do what you can.
Finally, when the situation you worried about breaks, pull out your notes and compare the outcome to what you wrote. Look at what you prayed and how things turned out.
- Can you see God in the situation?
- How is your peace level? Better? Worse?
- Could things have been different if you went to God earlier?