Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“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.”
Our verse for today is a key verse for living a life of thankfulness and gratitude.
People can be filled with anxiety—a general feeling of worry, nervousness, or uneasiness—especially during the holiday season. There are many reasons for this. it might be driven by bad family relations, illnesses, people’s bad choices, memories triggered by all the hustle and bustle, and a desire to live up to all the messaging that marketers want us to believe. It could even be unmet expectations we’ve place upon ourselves or others.
There are a lot of reasons for this–more than I can unpack in this devotional–but the bottom line is: anxiety can raise its head when we forget that our identity is truly found in God. We fail to realize that we’re image bearers of God. We begin to look inward instead of upward to Christ. When we do this, we quickly begin to see all the ways we are not in control—we’re not sovereign—and this leads to feelings of uneasiness and worry.
When we find ourselves in the midst of anxiety, we have to identify it for what it is—a lack of trust in God. It really is just that. When anxiety raises its head, we’ve got to bring it before the Lord. How do we do this? Through prayer and petition we take these feelings and give them to God.
You might be thinking “Jim, that’s too simple; you don’t understand all that’s going on.” So, is it really possible for us to be anxious for nothing? Yes. It is possible because we have the means of believing prayer. Look at the rest of the verse…it goes on to explain how our lives can be free from sinful fretting. Everything—no matter what it is—should be taken to the Lord in prayer. Don’t forget that “everything” means everything! There is nothing too great or small for His loving care!
You can’t underestimate prayer; it’s both an act and an atmosphere. What do I mean by that? Simply this…that the mood of our life should be a prayerful mood, an overall attitude of our life.
The attitude of being anxious in nothing, prayerful in everything, and being thankful should characterize our lives. If they do, then we will begin to experience the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. The peace that will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
In closing, always remember that this attitude we find in the verse ushers in the peace of God, and fills our hearts with a sense of holy restfulness and contentment which floods our soul when we lean hard upon God. For this, we’re filled with thankfulness and gratitude.
Is there something you’re anxious about today? Will you bring it before the Lord and let the peace of God wash over you?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the Gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.