Prayer & Peace: It Actually Works!

The 101 heart rate I wrote about a couple days ago in this post really caught my attention.  It jolted me out of the stress-denial bubble I’ve been living in and forced me to confront the reality of my stress level and how I let it get that far.  Every night I lay awake with my mind racing about everything that needs to be done and how impossible it is to get it all done, and I wake early each morning with my head still spinning around all these things.

How totally unnecessary.

So this morning I decided to take God at His Word.  He says in Philippians 4:4-7:  “Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.   Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.”

How hypocritical of me to preach about how God keeps His promises, and not even live according to them myself!  What kind of example am I setting by letting myself get so riddled with anxiety that I can’t even give blood?!?  How dumb is it for me to preach on prayer this Sunday while I’m walking around full of worry?  After all, worry is the opposite of prayer.

And so this morning I made a list of everything that’s been worrying me lately.  Then I got down on my knees with my Bible open before me to Philippians 4:4-7, and I prayed about everything on the list.  It took quite awhile, but it was more pressing than anything else I could be doing.  As I prayed, I asked God to take care of it all, and I turned it all over to Him.  I told Him that I’m trusting Him to work all this stuff out, and I literally opened my hands and surrendered it all to Him.  Then I placed my list inside my Bible at Philippians 4, because I’m leaving my anxiety, my petitions, my concerns with God.  After thanking Him for being a God who loves me, a God I can trust, and for taking care of all this stuff, I just worshiped Him.

And you know what happened?  The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, flooded my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  Just like He promised.  Instantly.  It was one of those intimacy-with-a-very-real-and-present-God kind of moments that we hunger for but usually only experience occasionally.  I could actually feel a load being lifted from me, and it was so freeing!

While I prayed, thoughts kept coming to me about things I needed to do pertaining to some of the stuff on the list.  So I kept a pad of paper and a pen nearby, allowing me to just jot these things down and not lose focus on my prayer.

When writing about the passage in Luke that I’m preaching from this Sunday, commentator Matthew Henry wrote: “We shall not seek God’s face in vain.”  So true.

“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).  The Lord is near!

Published in: on January 31, 2008 at 11:41 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. That’s awesome.

  2. Yeah He is!

  3. One of my favorite qualities in another Christian is authenticity. From my perspective, this could be stated another way: transparency. These qualities show other believers that our walk isn’t about perfection; it’s about a process with a personal God. Growing up, I was taught to put up a “front” when going to church, and as an adult, I realize how damaging that is–to the person fronting, and to the other Christians around them who think they have it all together, making them untouchable and unrelatable.

    I said all that to say thanks, Pastor, for living authentically before your friends, family, and congregation. Thanks for setting the example for us to live a true and transparent life and not be afraid to confess our faults one to another.

  4. BTW, the above post was by me, Christi–I forgot to change Josh’s name at the top! 😛

  5. Thanks Christi…a.k.a. “Josh.”

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