Peace, Not Panic
April 30, 2020
Read Philippians 4:4-7“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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.”
How do you think the peace of God “surpasses all understanding”? How does it guard our hearts and minds?
Pastor and author Rick Warren offers this advice to those who worry: “The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.”
He’s right. Instead of panicking, we must pray … and ultimately experience God’s incredible peace that is always available to us. Be anxious for nothing—let nothing worry you—covers a lot of ground. It covers fear, guilt, anger, all the things that cause anxiety to well up.
By handling troubling producing situations with prayer, whether it’s a small concern (I’m afraid this shampoo is ruining my hair) or a big one (I’m afraid my patient is going to die or I’m afraid my child is going to leave God and youth group and get into drugs)—God instead of the circumstances becomes our focus, and peace replaces panic.
Wonder replaces worry—wonder at God’s peace, which is more than the human mind can comprehend, wonder at His faithfulness and provision, so that we can “celebrate God all day, every day. . .revel in him!” (Philippians 4:4 msg).
A. W. Tozer calls this the “astonished wonder” and awe that is at the heart of true worship. This sense of “spiritual astonishment” or wonder happens among men and women when the Holy Spirit is present, working in their lives, just as what happened in Esther’s life.
Prayer needs to be our first resource, not a last resort as we face problems in daily life. In our stressful world, prayer is the best thing we can do to quiet our hearts and thoughts. Even secular medical research is revealing the amazing effects of prayer. Studies at Duke University and elsewhere show that daily prayer is so effective in reducing stress that it cuts our risk of anxiety by as much as 81 percent. The act of praying triggers biochemical changes in the brain and adds a sense of safety and purpose to our lives. Pray
Lord, strengthen me by Your Spirit to be confident in You and not to shake in my boots. Empower me to trust You until I see Your salvation worked in my life. As I turn from worry to focus on You, fill me with awe and wonder about how great You are.
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