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. Philippians 4:6-7, NASB
Sometimes it’s tempting to use the Bible like a “Christianity for Dummies” with step by step instructions on how to do Christianity. We can’t do Christianity that way. The Bible is more like a really long letter from a person who’s rescuing us and who loves us. When people use the Bible like a car manual, this is a favorite verse because its so plain and there are clear instructions that are so easy to foll…… Wait a minute—this is one of the most difficult instructions in the Bible to actually follow (aside from “be perfect like my heavenly father is perfect”).
Not an Anxiety Cure
At times I’ve experienced “insomnia producing” anxiety and have had people glibly dole this verse out to me like they don’t know why I haven’t already invoked this solution. As if this verse is the rule to follow and my anxiety makes me the breaker of the rule. On top of everything else, I should be corrected. Spouting this verse out of context to those in need is like giving a bandaid to an amputee.
I do believe this verse is true and has great value to us now, but not just as a “how to ward off anxiety” or as a rule we can follow so we can check it off our to do list. The next part, “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” isn’t simply a means to the peaceful end we desire. That would miss the greater call.
A Relationship That Brings Peace
These verses describe the kind of relationship we can have with God. We can tell God anything, and should—not as a rule, but because our relationship with him is that intimate. This will bring us peace as the relationship grows and we become more willing to approach God with our needs. Like any relationship this will develop over time.
We can’t drum up peace of mind by following rules. I know—I’ve tried. When we pray, let’s start where we are and we’ll see God meet us with gentleness and an incomprehensible peace.