An Overlooked Weapon Against Anxiety

“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.

 

We live in an information saturated world. For Christians this can be used for good. We can listen to sermons; read blogs, articles, journals; and download good books. The information saturated world can also have a dark side. We can often rabbit trail our time on the internet and find ourselves rabbit trailing through YouTube, social media (IG, FB, Twitter), online shopping, or reading the news. Many have even created the link between screen time and anxiety.

Thankfully, anxiety is not a new problem. It was not created when the internet was created. It has been around much longer than that because it is not a technology problem, it is a problem of the human heart. As Christians, whenever we discover these problems of the human hearts, or our sins, we go to Scripture for answers.

Clearly, the fight against anxiety begins with a proper understanding of the gospel. It begins by understanding the sovereignty of God, His love for us in Christ Jesus, our secured redemption on the basis of His work, and our response of faith and commitment to Him. Still, even as Bible believing Christians we can struggle with anxiety and God gives us the the path to victory in His Word. One portion of Scripture that tackles the issue of anxiety is Philippians 4:6–7.

 

Anxiety is an Internal Sin. Paul prohibits any Christian from giving in to anxiety, “Be anxious for nothing.” Anxiety is a sin that begins inside of the believer’s heart. It might be triggered by an outside circumstance, but circumstances merely expose a sin that was already rooted inside you. Christians cannot blame external circumstances for our sin, but we begin fighting anxiety with the realization that this is an internal battle. 

The passage doesn’t express the cause for the anxiety. It could be financial hardship, relational strain, cultural issues, or world-wide catastrophe. Anything can trigger our anxiety, but we are not called to fix the situation, but to address the heart.

 

Anxiety is Fought with Prayer. The answer to anxiety is not more information. If the flood of information that comes from your phone or computer are causing your anxiety, you cannot beat that anxiety by “out-information’ing” it. The fight against anxiety begins by putting your phone down and getting on your knees before the Lord. Paul uses the words, “prayer . . . supplication . . . requests” to describe the believer’s discipline of prayer. This is a God-given means to fight anxiety, by turning to God and looking at Him and speaking with Him. 

Christians pray comprehensively, they offer everything to God in prayer. Christians pray with the right attitude of thanksgiving. An ungrateful attitude is an enemy to prayer and fertilizer for the roots of anxiety. A grateful Christian always counts the numerous blessings of God. Therefore, Christians who are serious about winning the fight against anxiety are deeply committed to prayer. 

With these considerations, how would you describe your appetite for prayer? What is your attitude towards prayer? When was the last time you prayed with a family member, friend, or church member?

 

Peace as a Product of Prayer. The result of biblical prayer is supernatural peace, because it is a peace which “surpasses all comprehension.” This peace can only come from God, it is His peace that transforms our hearts to stability in the midst of the chaos causing our anxiety. Peace is the outcome of our love and devotion to Christ expressed through prayer.

 

A Few Concluding Thoughts. What do today’s circumstances reveal about your prayer life? Are you experiencing a lack of peace in your life? If so, it may be due to the fact that you do not know Christ and must run to Him. Perhaps it is because you have neglected your prayer life. If so, then analyze why it is not a priority in your life. What has taken the priority in your life over prayer? How can you make the proper adjustments to place prayer back in its rightful place? 

One encouragement I can give is to incorporate singing in your prayer/devotional time. They are a beautiful bridge of mind and heart, of Scripture and prayer. Many hymns can be read as prayers. Here are a few related to prayer that I find encouraging.

 

#1: What a Friend We Have in Jesus

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear—
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness—take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee; thou will find a solace there.

© Public Domain

 

#2: Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

Dear refuge of my weary soul, on Thee, when sorrows rise,
On Thee, when waves of trouble roll, my fainting hope relies.
To Thee I tell each rising grief, for Thou alone can heal;
Thy Word can bring a sweet relief for every pain I feel

But oh! When gloomy doubts prevail, I fear to call Thee mine
The springs of comfort seem to fail, and all my hopes decline.
Yet gracious God, where shall I flee? Thou art my only trust;
And still my soul would cleave to Thee, though prostrate in the dust.

Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face, and shall i seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace be deaf when I complain?
No, still the ear of sovereign grace attends the mourner’s prayer;
O may I ever find access to breathe my sorrows there.

Thy mercy seat is open still, here let my soul retreat;
With humble hope attend Thy will, and wait beneath Thy feet.
Thy mercy seat is open still, here let my soul retreat;
With humble hope attend Thy will, and wait beneath Thy feet.

© Public Domain


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