In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote something amazing — something I need to hear everyday:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).
Anxiety is like an avalanche, and my own mind is an expert at burying me. I’m a recovering hypochondriac, so my thoughts spiral downward like this: “There’s a pink mark on my skin. It’ll probably get infected. I’ll need antibiotics, but they probably won’t work. I may go septic and end up in the hospital. I’m as good as dead.” Maybe the anxiety avalanche in your mind is a little different: “Why hasn’t he called back yet? He hates me. I’m going to die alone with a small army of cats as my only friends.”
I don’t know about you, but my mind can go 0 to 100 real quick. Thankfully, Scripture gives us a way to stop the avalanche, and it’s called prayer – talking to God. I know, I know. Maybe you were expecting something more earth shattering. But think about it: What could be more earth shattering than presenting your thoughts and worries to the God of the whole universe?
Paul uses two absolutes in Philippians 4 – “anything” and “everything.” He says we shouldn’t worry about anything. In other words, nothing is too big for God to handle. And we should pray about everything. Nothing is too small for God to care about. Every topic andevery need is fair game in prayer.
Prayer digs us out of the avalanche because it connects us with the one who is in control of all things, and it reminds us that we were never really in control in the first place. We give our burdens to someone who knows our situation better than we do, someone who has more power than we do, and someone who actually loves us and knows us better than we know ourselves. When we settle into the rhythm of regular prayer, we begin to breathe easier, and our heartbeat calms. We climb out of the snow, inch by inch. And then a silent miracle happens. Peace.
This is my prayer today: “Father God, nothing happens without you knowing it and willing it. The Bible promises that everything that happens in my life happens for a reason. Help me trust in you, even when I don’t know that reason. Help me unload every single worry I have on you today, knowing nothing is too big for you, and nothing is to small for you. And in exchange, would you give me peace? Peace that goes beyond anything I’ve experienced before. Peace that is strange, alien, foreign. Peace that I cannot understand or put words around. A peace that I know comes only from you. Guard my heart and mind today. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
P.S. Recently, I had the chance to preach about another passage that really has helped me deal with anxiety and depression, Psalm 43:5. Check it out below: