Praying Against Anxiety ~ blog
In two days, I will be heading to the hospital to have surgery. Men in their 60’s can develop issues in their urinary tract and may need to have surgery to fix the problem. My surgery is on Thursday early afternoon. I am feeling some low levels of anxiety about this and so I thought I would write about how I deal with anxiety based on what the Bible teaches us.
In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul, led by the Spirit, tells us exactly how we can deal with anxiety. In fact, I strongly recommend that you memorize this passage because many of us have to deal with anxiety as part of our recovery from sexual brokenness. Here is that passage;
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When Paul wrote these words, he was not sitting in his study behind a desk and seated in a fine leather chair. He was in prison in Rome. Actually, it was probably when he was under house arrest but nonetheless, he was unaware of his fate and not living in freedom. He tells us in Philippians 1:13 that he was in chains and under the watch of the Pretorian Guard.
In fact, the real persecution of Christians in Rome began under Nero in 64 A.D. just two years after Paul wrote Philippians. However, for years before this Paul suffered greatly in his ministry. He was often in prison, beaten, placed in stocks, beaten with rods and was even stoned to death and God brought him back to life. So, he certainly understood what it meant to be in danger and having to deal with anxiety.
Anxiety is a huge problem today. You can read more about it on this website –
I have suffered from anxiety and depression for 30 years and have taken medication to help me be able to cope. This is probably the result of my having a neurological condition which makes me prone to this. So, this passage and the medication my Doctor has prescribed allow me to keep it under control. However, the fore mentioned surgery means I have to up my game and keep praying according to Philippians 4:6-7.
We are told to not be anxious about anything. This is certainly easier said than done. However, believing that the Bible is the Word of God and is telling me the truth I do what it says, and I receive the benefit of doing this which is the peace of God.
First, we are told to be anxious for NOTHING. Ok, that is easier said than done. For many, anxieties are not a gnat buzzing around our head that we can shoo away with a wave of our hand. It is something we can feel deeply and can be quite disabling. We cannot relax, sit still, and think rationally. There is this inner feeling that something dreadful is about to happen and it just stays there in our mind and affecting our feelings and actions.
The solution is that in everything by prayer and supplication we are to pray to God. Prayer is simply talking with God about what is going on. Supplication is more specific. It is asking for God to do something or for something to happen. What is it causing your anxiety? I am a bit anxious that a surgeon is going to spend an hour and a half being the Rotor Rooter man on my urinary tract.
So, I am praying that God will guide the Doctor and that everything will work normally after the surgery. However, notice the instruction we are given when we are making our petitions or supplications … WITH THANKSGIVING!!!
I am not only asking God specifically for things, but I am doing so with thanksgiving. That my friends brings faith into the situation. I do not know what is going to happen. But I am thanking God that whatever does happen I know He will still be with for me and will enable me to learn and grow from the experience whether it is successful or not.
I believe this is the missing ingredient for many of our prayers. Often, we can be so anxious that we are pleading to God as if He were not interested in what is going on in our lives. I have to get on my knees. I have to be very sincere and be bold and not give in to doubt. But what if I am not??? If I am anxious, I am going to be coming in fear and worry. I might even be begging God to do something because I am so afraid of what might happen.
That is not the image Paul is painting here for us. Sure, I am making my requests to God as we are all invited to do … but I am doing so with thanksgiving because I know my God is with me and I can trust Him with the results. Even if something horrible happens I know my God is in me by the Spirit who is my counselor and comforter. So, I present my requests not as demands because my will must be done … but with thanksgiving, because I know my Father will work everything to the good of conforming me more into Jesus.
This is what I call praying with faith … and because I know my Father and my Lord are in control and I can rest in that. And notice what it does …
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”
Now that may not happen instantly and maybe you need to continue to pray more. However, it will come as we stop thinking about what is making us anxious and do what we are told to do in the next verse. Which I will cover tomorrow.