“Be Anxious For Nothing”
It has been some time since I have written regarding Press Pause Ministries. This has been a fairly busy season of teaching, music and travel. In the midst of it all I have discovered an undercurrent of stress and anxiety shadowing me through these past weeks. Worry is something that I have dealt with in the past, but it seems during this season it has been pronounced. There are numerous references in the Bible that encourage me to not worry, but often those encouragements seem to be eclipsed by the stress of the moment. I am learning how patient God is with me in these times and how, rather than abandoning me, God continues to come alongside me and invites me to turn to Him. Paul in his letter to Philippians says these words, “Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Rather than being anxious for nothing I am finding I am anxious, to some degree, about everything. The minute one anxiety seems to dissipate another takes it’s place with equal or greater force. In times like these, when my anxieties present themselves, I am called to pray. I believe it is to be the knee-jerk response of the believer. Prayer both encourages and gives expression to our growing faith. It redirects our focus from the circumstances of worry to the faithfulness and power of God. This redirection of focus is essential to my life. It calls me to faith in what is bigger and more significant than myself. It calls me again to abide in the vine defined by Jesus rather than disconnect and attempt to live my life independently. This prayer that Paul describes is to be offered with thanksgiving, with gratitude for God’s rich mercy and grace.
Both faith and gratitude keep me connected to God as the one who is essential to all life. The gifts God provides to assist us in our circumstances are always to be encouragement to return to the giver of those gifts. The gifts, when disconnected from the giver just become one more opportunity for idolatry. And since all life is a gift, we are constantly offered the opportunity to celebrate the giver of all good and gracious gifts. I find faith and gratitude keep me correctly focused on the Lord Jesus and prayer is the practice that incorporates those two aspects into my life. In my efforts to alleviate my stress and anxiety I find prayer to be a far better practice than my attempts at management and control of my ever-changing circumstances.
As you consider this day and the days ahead I want to encourage you to pause and consider your practice of prayer and allow it to become an expression of dependence on God as well as an expression of gratitude to God for His faithful care and provision. My desire through Press Pause Ministries is to continually challenge each one to pause and create the space to draw near to God so that He might address with grace and love all the aspects of life. Pausing to pray in an intentional fashion prepares us to continue the prayerful conversation in all the various times and circumstances of our lives. So recalibrate, refocus and practice prayer that places Jesus at the center of all your life. The blessings of the Lord’s presence be with you now and always.