Over the past few weeks a theme of “Pray More and Worry Less” has vibrantly appeared in my life. This theme kept reverberating through everyday things making me question how much I do actually worry when I shouldn’t. Worry is a joy killer. It can make you physically sick if you worry too much. But, how in the world are we supposed to stop worrying? Well, I don’t believe anyone can keep from worrying all together. But we can reduce our stress levels and gain peace by learning to pray more and worry less.
So how exactly are we to gain peace by learning to pray more and worry less?
First, we can worry less by learning the right way to handle worry when it creeps into our lives. Which for me, worry was an everyday occurrence. How about you?
Look at the following verses from Philippians:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
Looking at this verse we can see that worrying less and praying more go hand-in-hand. We are not supposed to be “anxious about anything“, but we often find ourselves worrying about all sorts of problems in our lives. “But in every situation” we are to present our requests to God. We present our worries through “prayer and petition, with thanksgiving”. In other words, turn everything over to God through prayer, petition and appreciation for what He has already given you before you worry.
The key here is praying before you worry.
When a problem or a situation happens, no matter how small, praying before you do anything else will not only put your mind at ease from the get-go, but it will help to move you out of God’s way so He can deal with the problem.
Reread verse 7 in the scripture:
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NIV)
When we pray first, God gives us peace! His peace that “transcends all understanding”. And, that beautiful peace will “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. It will let us feel at ease, with full knowledge that God is already moving to solve the situation. There is no need for us to worry in the first place. God is fully able to handle whatever the situation might be.
We just need to move out of His way.
God automatically grants us the blessing of peace when we pray more and worry less. I have seen the benefits of praying first in my own life over and over again. When I start to worry about something and stop to pray first the problem instantly doesn’t feel as bad. I can find rest and peace in knowing that I have turned the situation over to God. The peace comes from the acknowledgement that God is in control. Just look at the following verse:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV)
I don’t have to worry. God is able to take care of any situation in a manner that will be good for me. I may not like the outcome from a human perspective. However, I do know that God is good and that He has my best interests at heart.
This is not to say that I will only receive good.
We can also see throughout the Bible that troubles come. The point is that God is with us and remains with us through the storms of our lives.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2, NIV).
Prayer is a tool given to us by God to help us cast our burdens upon him so that we do not have to carry around the heavy load that comes from worry. When we worry doesn’t it feel like life is just heavier? Wouldn’t you like to set down some of that weight? Are you ready to live with a lighter load?
We have to actively practice praying first.
We will always have a tendency to worry first when life throws us a curve ball. I know it’s not always easy to stop worrying but I also have felt the beautiful peace that comes from casting my burdens on the Lord. Just turning to Him first brings on a sense that no matter the outcome I will be okay. My God has everything under control and I can rely on Him completely to guide me and direct my path.
You can do the same. You can gain peace by learning to pray more and worry less. Cast your burdens on the Lord before you worry. Practice turning to Him before you start fretting over what to do. Trust that He will guide you. Lean into His peace and understand that He will show you the way through the storms that come. The peace that comes from actively practicing to pray first will be well worth the effort.
What about you? Are you ready to gain peace by learning to pray more and worry less?