This is part of an ongoing series during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. To engage further in the #QuarantineSoulCare series, click here.
Paul commands us to have nothing to do with anxiety and everything to do with prayer. Sadly, many of us reverse this and worry about everything, praying only as a last resort! It’s easier to worry, fret, get heartburn, lose sleep, yell at our husband or friends, the kids, or our roommates than it is to pray. We’ve flip-flopped the biblical prescription, not in belief but in practice.
Not only are we to pray specifically, we are to pray with thanksgiving. This is beyond difficult! When I’m worried that I have cancer or that my child is uninterested in school and failing geometry or that my friend has hurt me or that pressing problems have multiplied within me, it is hard, hard, hard to be thankful.
Psalm 116:17 helps me to understand what it means to pray with thanksgiving:
“I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.”
I like this reminder because giving thanks when a black tunnel has enveloped my world is definitely sacrificial! … When confronted with negative circumstances, we have a choice: Will we pray about the problem or will we worry about it? …
We are to practice substituting prayer for worry, the positive for the negative—and the God of peace will be with us! … This was Paul’s process, the path he walked in order to learn contentment. I have been privileged to know some dear women who have walked this path. With Paul they can say, “I have learned to be content in all circumstances.”
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
–Philippians 4:7, The Message