Washing our Hearts of Worry

The Prayer that Kills Worry

“…but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)

Anxious for nothing. Prayer in everything. Never worry. Always pray. There are three words used for prayer here: prayers, petitions, and requests.

  • Prayers – general word for talking to God.
  • Petitions (supplication) – this word is more specific and means entreaty. This is a word of urgency and need. It’s the difference between conversation and a cry for help.
  • Requests – asking for things. When are we do this? In everything!

Paul also adds that these prayers are to be done in a spirit of thanksgiving. This is critical as thanksgiving acknowledges God’s right to do what he wants. When I am thankful to God, I am submissive to his will. When I am thankful in prayer, I am acknowledging his goodness.

Thankful prayers kill worry at the root by reminding us that God is in control and that he is good.

  • When I am anxious, I am refusing to give up control. When I am praying, I am acknowledging God’s right to control.
  • When I am worrying, I am believing in my ability to know what is good. When I am praying, I am trusting in God’s ability to define good.

Get this. God WANTS us to make requests to him. He WANTS us to come needy to him. “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Look at the life of our Lord and see from his boldness and reliance on his heavenly Father that God is not afraid of our honest cries for help. Rather, he is glorified in them and wants us to come to him and promises to hear and WILL always answer our prayer according to his goodness which permeates every thought and inclination that he has toward us.

He is not honored by our worry. He is not honored by our fear.

One of my earliest memories is when we were visiting a Christian camp. I was maybe three or four and my dad carried me out on the long dock into the lake. From my vantage point, that dock seemed incredibly narrow and slender. I cried out, “Don’t drop me Daddy!” All I could see was the water. I was afraid. My fear didn’t honor him, but I knew who to ask for help.

And so many of us are dominated by fear and worry over things that we cannot control. I said in a previous sermon, pandemics put the modern man out of sorts because pandemics put the modern man out of control. Our lives are controlled by that for which, about which, after which, before which and concerning which we care. [1]

Some people never try the better way and they dismiss it with, prayers don’t work! Does worry? Has anxiety ever helped any situation? Never. Why is it so universally embraced? There is a better way and it begins with fighting worry at its root—who is in control and who is good? If the answer is me, I will be dominated by worry. If it is God, an entirely new reality blossoms in my life.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2020 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

[1]Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (Vol. 4, Page 591-592). Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, MI

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