Philippians 4: 6-7
I'm a worrier. I come from a long line of worriers. My grandmother used to say she only worried on Wednesdays, but from her behavior the rest of the week, I didn't know if I believed her. Maybe there was more than one Wednesday in her week?
I came across this great quote in "Running While Black," a book by Rick Hightower, quoting his wife, Rita: "If you're going to pray about it, don't worry, and if you're going to worry, why pray?"
The first half, I can absorb pretty well, as it aligns with my favorite verse in the Bible (which I still haven't mastered), from Philippians 4: 6-7:
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.
In fact, if we pray, we should stop worrying, as this passage lets us know that when we truly lay out requests at the feet of the Father, then we will receive peace. And peace means the end of worry.
Of course, the question is, did we really lay our requests out and leave them there? We tend to keep worrying about outcomes. Paul doesn't talk about outcomes; he talks about peace. We think our worry will go away if we're assured of the outcome, but the truth is that we will find something new to worry about. There's always a next thing. So peace can never come from outcomes! Peace can only come from ceasing to worry, knowing that we are in the Father's hands.
The second half of Rita's equation is a little tougher to swallow and bears consideration. "If you're going to worry, why pray?" In other words, you're wasting your time in prayer if you're not laying things at the feet of the Father and leaving them there. If you pick them up and carry them away with you, then prayer won't bring you peace.
I want to continue my thinking on this topic in next Wednesday's devotional, but for now, I hope you'll join me in attempting to truly leave our requests with God, stopping our worry, and claiming the peace of God that is offered to us.
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