Last Sunday, we started a new series on prayer called, Let it Go. You can listen to it here.
Anxiety is incredibly powerful.
It can take a situation that is ultimately insignificant and make it overwhelmingly important in our minds. It can magnify fear or pain or panic. It can keep us from sleeping, working, and feeling healthy. It can even keep us from trusting God and forgiving others.
Anxiety is incredibly powerless.
It can’t actually change reality. It brings nothing to bear on the situation that actually affects anything. Anxiety can’t change tomorrow; anxiety can’t change another person; and anxiety can’t change God’s sovereignty. As Jesus said, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27)
Don’t get me wrong, we all feel anxious sometimes. I’ve read too many books that imply a “good Christian” should never feel anxious. Yeah, right. Jesus assumes we will struggle with it, which is why he teaches about it. The Bible never says that we won’t experience anxiety; it just says we should let it go. It says we should trade it in for peace.
Replacing anxiety for peace is a key purpose of prayer. Handing over our concerns to the King of the Universe is a very freeing experience. In response, He’s promised us a peace that “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7)—a peace that comes from His presence with us, His power in our lives, and His perspective on our problems.
As I was preparing the message on this topic, Abby and I learned that we are going to have another baby. Surprise! Talk about anxiety! So I decided to practice what I preach and I started praying about it. The anxiety didn’t go away overnight (and it hasn’t completely gone away). But there is a peace that doesn’t make much sense. And each time I pray, the anxiety gets smaller and the peace gets bigger. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to work.