“Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7)
What do you worry about? What makes you anxious? How do you handle your worries? What do you do with your anxiety?
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us what we should do, as Christians, with whatever makes us anxious. These two sentences are built around two commands – one negative – “Be anxious for nothing” – and the other positive – “let your requests be made known.” When should we “let our requests be made known”? “In everything.” How? “By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” To Whom? “to God.” Who? Those who are in “Christ Jesus.” What is the result? “The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds.” In short, Paul says, “Don’t worry about anything. Pray about everything.”
These two verses contain a promise and a principle.
A Promise: Through prayer, God will give us peace in place of anxiety. That’s an amazing promise! We don’t have to worry about anything! Our worry can be exchanged for His peace through prayer that is full-orbed (including thanksgiving, not just requests). As we pray, God gives us a supernatural peace that only He can give. Like a sentry, that peace guards our hearts and minds.
A Principle: Ask God for what you prefer, then defer to Him. We’re commanded to make our requests known to God in prayer – regarding everything (not simply big things or “important” things), and then submit, or defer, to Him for the results. We say, “Lord, this is what I want, but You’re sovereign and You know what’s best for me, so I submit to You.” This has been called “Preferential-Deferential Prayer.” This is how we ought to pray for ourself and others.
How can we deal with our anxiety? By claiming God’s promise and acting according to His principle.