By: Cheri Fuller
"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."
Worry to Wonder
We each have different “panic buttons” and certain experiences that shake our lives. Sometimes it’s a single calamitous event, like the death of a spouse or job loss (or the threat of such a loss). Other times misfortune comes as it did in Job’s life—an earthquake of tragedy plus waves of difficulty and pain. But no matter what your particular fear or panic button is, the five Ps will work—not because they are a magic formula. But because when we put God’s Word into practice and lay the tracks down in prayer for His power to come, we emerge from darkness into His marvelous light.
Here’s how to start:
The moment you’re struck by anxiety, go right to God. Pull away wherever you are and get into God’s presence. That means at work or even in the midst of a conversation—take the worry to Him instead of engaging it in your mind and thinking of all the terrible things that could happen. When something bad happens, we have a tendency to blame God for allowing us to go through the difficulty. Instead, regardless of what the situation is, thank God about how He’s blessed you recently and:
· How He’s drawing you to Him through this fear or problem
· What He is going to do in the situation
· How you’re going to grow
· How God is going to reveal Himself in the need or concern
As you choose to turn to God and praise Him, it delights His heart. All of life tries to pull you down to circumstances but when you focus on the Lord, He blesses you with the ability to cope with the problem.
“Thanksgiving gives effect to prayer,” says Robert Jamieson, “and frees us from anxious carefulness by making all God’s dealings a matter for praise, not merely for resignation, much less murmuring. Peace is the companion of thanksgiving.”
Persist and don’t give up. What if you’ve prayed through the five Ps and given your worry to God and it comes back a few minutes later? Don’t give up. Remember that the bigger or heavier the fear or problem, the more times you may need to give it to God until you have really let go of it. If the fear recurs, don’t say, “Well, this isn’t working.” Instead, stop and give your worry to God again. Each time you’ll get a little more victory. Peace will increase until your mind is at rest concerning the matter. Rest means mental and spiritual tranquility, freedom from all worries. And that’s often when the creative solution or insight of what you’re to do will come to mind—when you’re at mental and emotional rest.
Receive His peace. Philippians 4:7 says, “The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NASB). Claiming God’s peace is a matter of yielding to Him and receiving what He freely offers. Peace isn’t what you conjure up to make yourself feel better about the situation. It’s not affirming self-talk, but claiming the peace of God—a peace we can’t fathom or measure—that will transform your very thoughts. Christ’s whole nature is peace. He is the Prince of Peace.
The Message’s translation of that verse says, “Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (emphasis added). And isn’t it amazing that the problem doesn’t have to go away for us to experience this peace? Yes, we want it to be resolved; but as soon as it is, another one will take its place. Though we aren’t promised a problem-free life, we can trust this promise from God: He will give us the power and peace to live abundantly—even in the midst of adversity.
Pray with others. There’s nothing better than to join hearts and hands in prayer with other believers about the things that we are most worried about. God didn’t mean for us to be like the Lone Ranger, tackling problems alone. When the battle is fierce or long, we naturally get discouraged and need other friends in Christ to pray with us—and they will need us to lift them up for their concerns, too. Even the great leader Moses needed Aaron and Hur to support him and hold his arms up in prayer as he interceded for the Israelites when they were in battle against the Amalekites (see Exodus 17). You and I need prayer partners, a group to pray with, or sometimes a whole network of prayer or church-wide intercession in a crisis time. Whether you’re young or old, a Mary or a Martha, a man or woman—God is calling all of us to pray about our families’ lives and what’s going on in the nation and world.
Let prayer become a way of life. The “practice these things” part of the Philippians passage can remind us to pray using the five Ps in the small worries and the larger burdens every day. Prayer opens the door to the One who can save us from our fears and redeem our situation. As you practice prayer, giving your concerns and burdens to God will become as natural as breathing. Just as soldiers in warfare practice the maneuvers and strategies to be ready to use them in real combat, practice these five Ps so you’ll be ready when your personal battle comes:
To leave your old habit of worry and start a new habit, write the above words on a card with the words of Philippians 4:6–9. They will remind you every day to release your worries to God in prayer. As you make them a part of your lifestyle, you’ll find the five Ds: dread, doubt, depression, despondency, and disease—will disappear. It’s in practice that the truth of Philippians 4 will move from your head to your heart, that the joy of the Lord will be the strength you need, not just to survive but to worship God with an astonished sense of wonder and enjoy Him right in the midst of it.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7 NIV)
God, thank You that You invite me to roll everything upon You, casting just like a fisherman casts his line into the lake, all my worries and fears and things that I’m concerned about, because You love me affectionately and care for me. I give You my deepest cares now. . . .
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 ESV)
Jesus, I admit my heart has been troubled and afraid. Help me to choose to turn to You instead of staying agitated and fretting about my problem. You have given Your peace, and I receive it and thank You for it! What a wonderful gift! I don’t have to live worried and unsettled, but I can be free to experience Your peace and joy.
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”