“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The American Psychological Association recently published data showing that 77 percent of people in the United States regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress and that 73 percent regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress. According to the same study, job pressure is the number one cause of stress, money is second, health is third, and relationships are fourth.
Stress is rampant in America. Hardly anyone is free from it. Each of us seems to be fighting some sort of war within. Myself included.
Whenever I feel stress and anxiety creeping up upon me, I try to pray Philippians 4:6-7 (featured above) and claim it as truth. I love these verses. They begin by first taking the sting out of anxiety and naming it as pointless and unhelpful. And then the verses move toward surrender and the comfort of being able to present our requests to God by prayer and petition. Finally, these verses move us toward a conclusion—that “God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” will guard our hearts and minds. This unexplainable peace comes from the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
After clinging to these verses when I am feeling stressed, I might then offer a prayer that goes like this: God, I give you my stress. I give you my anxiety. I give you my fear. Your Word says that you can give me peace that surpasses all understanding, that even in the midst of my worry, my grief and my valleys, that I can still have peace—a supernatural, unexplainable peace. God, let your peace transcend my understanding. Let it envelope me. Let it indwell within me and fill me, so that I can have peace in the middle of this storm.
Colossians 3:15 says: “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
- What are the wars that are being waged within you right now? Name those stresses, anxieties, and fears. Try to discern where they might be coming from.
- Does allowing these anxieties to consume you benefit you in any way? Has worrying ever fixed anything? What would it look like for you to surrender them to God and allow Him to take care of them?
- How does it practically look for a peace that transcends all understanding to guard your heart and mind?