The First Key to Peace
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.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:6-9 NLT
Paul gives us some powerful directives concerning how to live without stress and anxiety. Let’s work on unpacking the first principle he gives us—“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”
Prayer seems to be a key to releasing peace in our lives. Prayer seems to be the starting point of overcoming stress and worry.
As I write today’s devotion, I think back to a recent night where I was awake for over an hour during the early morning hours, unable to go back to sleep. The previous couple of days had included a surprising report from a family just receiving information about their child being diagnosed with cancer. Next, I had some difficult conversations with a family hurt by one of our staff. Then, I had some personal issues in my family.
In that early morning hour, I quoted scripture, wrote a list of things that were troubling my mind, and then went to my place of prayer and knelt to pray. (This would normally be the part of the story where I talk about a flood of peace coming over me as I was on my knees.) But the truth of the matter was that I couldn’t find words to say at first as I knelt for prayer.
Words did not flow naturally. I did not get immediate relief. Eventually, I gave up trying to pray and just knelt to listen. There was no angelic word or sudden flood of peace. But there was a still small voice of the Holy Spirit that reminded me God loved me.
Knowing that God loved me opened me up to His presence. I told God I needed some miracles—big miracles. Then I thanked Him for His love and for the incredible things He has done in my life. The longer I thought about what God has already done in my life; the more faith became bigger than my fears. It was not immediate. I didn’t suddenly become stress-free. But my faith began the process of overcoming my fears.
Paul said when we tell God what we need and thank Him for what He has done, His peace will “guard your hearts.” The mental picture here is powerful. I imagine an angel of God—the big kind that scared people in the Bible days—standing guard over my heart and telling fear, anxiety, stress, and depression they are not allowed to control my mind, will, and emotions.
Holy Spirit, I thank You that You are guarding my mind, will, and emotions right now. You are driving out spirits of fear, anxiety, confusion, depression, frustration, worry, and doubt. You are filling me with the peace that passes all understanding. I thank You for Your presence in my life today. I need You.
Scroll down to share what you feel God is saying to you based on today’s reading.