Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks (Philippians 4:6, GW).
The Comanche Indians tortured and killed their enemies by staking them to the ground. They then took a wet leather strap and placed it around the neck of their enemy. As the leather strap slowly dried in the blazing desert sun, it would gradually cut off the air supply until their enemy finally choked to death. Worry does the same thing. "Worry" literally means "to be pulled in different directions." The old English root from which we get our word "worry" means "to strangle." Worry literally strangles our peace and weakens our faith.
Worry is a control issue.
Worry is wasted energy.
Worry is consuming and unhealthy.
Worry is a joy thief.
Worry is the interest that we pay today on tomorrow's problems.
Worry is practicing atheism.
Worry makes everything seem bigger than it really is.
When we choose to trust God, we are choosing against worry. In Isaiah 26:3, Isaiah voices a powerful prayer of faith that should be our prayer as well. "You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you." It is simple. God rewards our trust with His peace.
I saw a bumper sticker that read "Worry is the darkroom in which negatives are developed." How true! I can only imagine what it does to the heart of God to see His children caught in the trap of negative attitudes when His plan is a peaceful mind-set. We will never live in freedom and power until we consistently choose against worry and deliberately choose to trust God alone.
It is possible not to worry. It must be. God never asks us to do anything that He doesn't empower us to do. The problem is that we like to play God in our lives. Playing God is the root of worry. When we take life into our own hands, worry will always be the result. The apostle Paul certainly had plenty of reasons to worry. He was in jail, facing a trial and an almost certain execution. Paul's health was failing rapidly and the churches he had spent his whole life building were struggling to survive. Yet, Paul refused to worry and lived a life marked by peace. We can, too.
Paul gives us the formula for eliminating worry and establishing peace when he writes "in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks." In this verse, "prayers" are thoughts spoken to God while "requests" are specific needs presented to God. In other words, if it is big enough to concern us, it is big enough to concern God. Then why do we get serious about prayer only as a last resort instead of making prayer our first response? We have forgotten that aside from God's power, we are helpless and lost. Peace comes while we are on our knees before Him in prayerful dependence. Paul reminds us that we are to pray about everything. Prayer should be a habit instead of a last-ditch effort.
Notice that Paul says if we want to experience peace, we must give thanks while we are praying, the perfect picture of praying in faith. To pray in faith is to believe that God not only can answer or will answer prayer, but that He is answering even as we pray.
The story is told of a small town in west Texas that was experiencing a severe drought. One Sunday morning, a pastor in that town announced there would be a prayer meeting that night and encouraged every member to meet at the church to pray for rain. The pastor challenged them to come in faith, believing that God would hear and answer their prayer. That night, the church was filled with every leader of the church and community. The preacher stood, looked out over the crowd and said "Only one of you has come in faith." He then pointed to a little girl seated in the front row. She was holding an umbrella. Faith eliminates worry and feeds peace.
Father, I come to You today with a sense of helplessness. I am desperate for You, Lord. I need Your strength and power to sustain me because everything seems to be falling apart. I want to be a woman of faith and stand strong when trouble bombards my life but I cannot do it alone. I am afraid and seem to worry about everything. Today, I turn to You and celebrate the truth that You will turn to me and be my refuge.
In Jesus' name,