The Prayer That Defeats Anxiety

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Have you ever experienced anxiety it’s
terrible isn’t it? It gnaws at you. You feel it in the pit of
your stomach. It wakes you up at night. It robs you of your sleep. But did you know
that God doesn’t want you to live like that?
Today on FootNotes we are going to see his solution for the problem of anxiety. Hi this is Pastor Bill, and I’m excited
about today’s devotion, we will see what God tells us about living a life that is
characterized by peace rather than stress. Before we start could you do me a
favor and hit those subscription and like buttons? Also I want to encourage
you to watch this video all the way until the end, because there are important
points there, that many either don’t understand or don’t apply,
therefore they never experience the peace that is available to them. The
scripture we will look at is found in Philippians 4. Philippians 4 6-7 “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. Now the potential in that passage is amazing, isn’t it?
just look at that first line do not be anxious about anything. We must realize
that this is God speaking to us through the pen of Paul.
Therefore this isn’t some trite useless advice we might find in some self-help
section in a bookstore. This is our loving father who wants us to enjoy a
life of victory over anxiety and worry. And in this passage through the pen of
Paul, he tells us how to live that way. Here is truth that is powerful enough to
defeat stress. Here is truth that actually works, and do you know why I
know this works? Because it worked with Paul, the one who wrote it. He experienced
peace and joy while being chained in a Roman prison facing a possible death
sentence. In circumstances that would stress anybody else out, he’s not. He is
able to write a beautiful letter that is filled with joy. So, let’s dig into this
anxiety defeating, joy producing passage before us, and in it Paul gives us three
steps that will defeat anxiety. And like I said, hang in there with me until the
end because all three steps are necessary for this to work.
The first step to peace is this. Pray about everything. Philippians 4:6 again,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer. Now, this is amazing, isn’t it? Paul says we can live a life that is free from anxiety. He says the
first step to enjoy that is to be what? A person of Prayer. But what are we to pray
about? Everything. Anything that is causing anxiety in our life. In other
words, if it’s big enough to cause worry, it’s big enough to take to God.
Isn’t that what Peter says? Listen to these words, 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all
your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” So, never think what’s bothering you
is too small to take to him. God is not thinking really
“I’m busy running the universe and you bring that to me! You can’t handle that?
Lightweight.” No! He tells us if it’s big enough to worry us, that he loves us
and he wants it. He wants us to cast it on him to take care of. And so the first
step in dealing with our anxiety is prayer. But what does that mean in this
context? Well, right now it’s not speaking of petitioning God yet. We’re not asking
for anything here. That comes in the next step. But at this point, Paul is referring
to something deeper and more intimate. We could call this, entering into the
atmosphere of prayer. Where we go to God, we enter into his presence to worship
and adore him. In other words it’s not going to God like we do so often and say, “I
need this. I need that. Amen. See ya!” It’s taking a moment to contemplate who he is. To remember who we are praying to. We see the same thing in the model prayer Jesus
gave us in Matthew 6. That section we know as the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus
instructs us to petition God in verse 11. Matthew 6 11 says “Give us this day our
daily bread.” but that’s
not where this model prayer starts. It starts two verses earlier in verse nine,
where we remind ourselves of who we’re praying to. Matthew 6:9 “Pray then like
this, our Father in Heaven.” Well, that sets the tone for everything that’s going to
follow. Then when we do take our petitions to God in verse 11, we’re going
to ask confidently and expectantly. Why? because we have reminded ourselves that
we are asking the God who dwells in heaven, the creator of all things.
Therefore, he has the power to answer our prayers and take care of our problems.
And we have also reminded ourselves that we are going to our loving father who
wants to take care of our problems. So, in the simple step, my faith has been
strengthened. I am able to go to God with a confident expectation because he is my
loving Father who dwells in heaven. The one who wants to take care of me, and the
one who can take care of me. Now we’re ready to move on to the next step.
Petition. Look at verse six again, “Do not be anxious about anything but in
everything by prayer and supplication,” or, as some translations say “prayer and
petition” In this step, we pour our heart out to God, taking everything that is
bothering us and handing them off to him. We follow the advice of David in Psalm
62 8, he said, “Trust in him at all times, O people: pour out your hearts before him.
God is our refuge.” I love that. Get into the habit of honestly pouring your heart
out to God talking, with him about everything that bothers you. So, we have
“Prayer” and then we have “Petition.” That brings us to the third step necessary in
this anxiety defeating prayer, which is “Thanksgiving.” Verse 6 again “Do not be
anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with
Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Now we have a tendency to
skip steps 1 and 3 then wonder why we have so much anxiety in our life.
Why our rushed prayers don’t seem to be doing very much at all. Well, let’s think
this through. Paul gave three elements of Prayer that deals with anxiety. Why?
Because all three are necessary. Why would we think it would work if we only
do one or two of the three? Listen, if you have a car and read the manual, and it
says three things are necessary for the engine to run correctly. You need water
to keep it cool, you need oil to reduce friction, and you need gas to provide the
energy. If you read that and think, “You know what? Man, gas is way too expensive,
I’m just going to do the other two.” Well, it’ not going to run is it? And when
you go to the dealer to complain about the lemon they sold you, what are they
going to say? They’re gonna say “If you want your car to run correctly, read the
manual dummy. Do what it says, do all that it says. Ignore any of those steps, and
your car won’t work.” My point is this, the Bible is God’s manual for living. In it,
he tells us what we must do for our life to run correctly. If you want to deal
with anxiety, this manual tells you the actions you must take. You need to pray,
but it is a prayer that has three elements involved in it. Decide you only
need to do one or two, and anxiety is going to continue to be a problem. So, we
need to pray with Thanksgiving. But why is Thanksgiving so effective in
defeating anxiety? Because it forces us to think biblically rather than just
being controlled by our emotions. It forces us to bring God into our
circumstances. How? Because it forces us to remember all the biblical reasons we
can be thankful for in our situation. God I thank you that you’re sovereign and in
control of all things. including this. I thank you that even in these difficult
times you have promised they’re all going to work out for my good. I thank
you that you have promised this suffering is positive, because it is shaping my
character, fashioning into me the beauty of Christ’s likeness.
I want that so much, so thank you. I thank you that this is working into me a
spiritual perseverance that is so essential in my spiritual walk. God, I
thank you for all the promises of the Bible that comfort me in times like this.
And I thank you that you’re a God who cannot lie, therefore, those promises are
sure. God I thank you that I don’t face any of this alone, because you said you
will never leave me nor forsake me. That’s all taken right out of the
scriptures, and it’s only a small portion of the comfort the Bible provides. See
what this does is it interrupts our typical way of facing trials. We have a
tendency to focus only on the temporal problems, and forget all the truths meant
to bring us peace and victory. So, Thanksgiving releases us from anxiety,
because it forces us to think correctly. It forces our eyes off the circumstances
and on to God. On to his power, and the promises of his loving care. The result
as we force truth into our situation, is anxiety will be defeated, not only by the
truth that we’re reminding ourselves of but, watch how God gets involved when we
pray like this. That’s our next step the peace of God. Looking at verse 7 now. “And
the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus. So God responds by giving us the gift of
peace. His peace. It is the “Peace of God.” Because it is his peace given to us as a
gift, it is so deep it surpasses human understanding. If you’ve ever experienced
it, you know you can’t explain it. It’s this wonderful inner calm and
tranquility in the midst of adversity that would usually overwhelm us.
Willam MacDonald put it this way. “The peace of God is a sense of holy repose… which
floods the soul of the believer when they are leaning hard upon God. So, God
gives us his peace. Now watch what this peace does. Paul adds this peace will
“guard our hearts and minds.” “Guards” that’s a military term used for a century
standing guard to protect something valuable or strategic. The point is this, as we learn to handle life’s anxieties in the
way this verse explains, God responds by not only giving us his peace, but also by
putting his peace on guard duty, to protect our mind, emotions, and thoughts
from being overwhelmed by anxiety. Anxiety and worry still try to defeat us,
but can find no opening, can find no foothold. So let’s close this wonderful
passage by seeing who this promise is for. This freedom from anxiety is for a
very select audience. Look at verse 7 again, “And the peace of God, which
surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ
Jesus. There it is. This is a gift from God that is given to his children who
come to him in prayer. It is not something those who have rejected God
and his son will enjoy. Scripture tells us the Christ rejecter is at war with
God, which makes it impossible to enjoy his peace. We live in an age filled with
fear and anxiety don’t we? Constantly hearing bad news it seems like.
Fortunately, God has a solution for us. We must get into the habit of taking
whatever is causing anxiety to him in prayer. We’ve seen the prayer that
defeats anxiety has three elements to it ,and all are necessary. Prayer, Petition,
and Thanksgiving. And we’ve seen that this peace is only given to those who
are God’s children. Those who by faith have received Jesus Christ as their Lord
and Savior. Thank you for continuing with me to the end here. Again hit those
buttons down below and God bless you

 

4 Responses

  1. Foote Notes

    February 6, 2020 4:36 am

    Anxiety is a huge problem in our country. Anti-depressants are being handed out like candy. But God has a better way.

    Reply
  2. Sandra Guerra

    February 7, 2020 5:19 am

    Thank you for making the truths of God so simple. I was so down today and when YouTube recommended this video, (I did not see the name of the site, speaker) , I only saw the picture and the word anxiety) I thought oh well I’ll listen for a minute but it’s probably gonna be out there, and then I heard your voice and was stunned that it was Bill Foote, who is so right on and such an encourager and passionate for God’s word. I thanked the Lord because I took it serious and truly casted my cares on the Lord. I was strengthened.

    Reply

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