To stop worrying, I learned how to pray and how to rejoice.
Don't get me wrong. I still worry. I still feel the fears that lead to those worries.
But I'm learning how to replace those worries and fears with prayer and joy. And my life is so much better for the lessons.
In a sermon titled The Cure To Worry, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries used Philippians 4:4-9 to describe how, with faith in God, we can learn to live free from anxiety and be filled with happiness.
See the sermon below.
Pastor Greg broke the cure down like this:
The cure for worrying involves,
- Right praying
- Right thinking
- Right living
When we pray instead of worrying, said Pastor Greg Laurie in his sermon, and rejoice instead of panicking, we know the peace God's love brings into our lives.
This doesn't mean we won't experience hardship.
This doesn't mean we should revel in losing a job or jump for joy when our cars break down.
This also doesn't mean that we shouldn't be mindful of the future or ignore tragic events such as a loved one being diagnosed with a terminal disease.
However, through right praying, thinking, and living, we can know God's peace.
Here's how Pastor Greg employed the apostle Paul's writings in Philippians to encourage us to live in Christ.
We start with verses 4-6:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Just to make sure it's clear for us what to do in life, Paul repeats his instruction in verse 4 to rejoice in the Lord always, in all things, at all times, no matter how terrible things may seem.
Then, in verse 5, the scripture goes on to read that we should let everyone know of our moderation. And that God is present.
To help me understand verse 5 and gain some perspective on its context, I turned to the Oxford dictionary to define the word "moderation."
- The avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one's behavior or political opinions.
- The action of making something less extreme, intense, or violent.
So, perhaps to stop worrying, in addition to showing joy for God's love, it helps to consciously make troubles smaller, to not make mountains out of molehills.
But how do we do that?
The answer is in verse 6: "Be careful for nothing ... "
Careful, you'll see, is another word for anxious.
- Anxious to protect (something) from harm or loss.
So, be neither anxious nor worry about anything.
Reading further, verse 6 states, "... in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Here are some more definitions.
- The action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.
- The expression of gratitude, especially to God.
That second part of verse 6 reads to me as follows.
In short, ask God for everything. Pray on everything. And do so with a thankful heart.
Maybe the idea of praying on everything seems overwhelming or perhaps even ridiculous.
But in my experience, talking to God throughout the day, praying to Him with gladness, and putting Him first in all things, I've changed from a worrisome and resentful person to someone humble, grateful, and happy.
For his cure to worrying, Pastor Greg moves onto verses 7-9 to substantiate his bullet points about
and Right living.
Starting with verse 7,
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
What does it mean that God shall "keep" our hearts and minds?
- Provide for the sustenance of (someone).
- Guard; protect.
Using the above definitions, through God's peace, which is far greater than we could ever comprehend, and through Jesus, He will protect our hearts and minds, how we feel and think about the world.
So, through thankful prayers and rejoicing, God will protect us from worry.
But there's still more to the cure to worry.
The cure also involves right thinking.
With verse 8 as our guide,
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
To be free from anxiety, yes, we have to rightly pray.
And, we also have to rightly think.
To do so, we shouldn't think about negative things or look for the gloom in our circumstances.
Rather, we should actively seek all that which is good, and keep those things front-of-mind.
Wait, but are true and honest things, cited in verse 8, always good?
In my experience, that things are true and honest, and not lies or misdirection makes them good.
Some truths are hard, but with them, we at least know where we stand.
Additionally, verse 8 directs us to think about the beautiful things in life, the things that are morally upright, and that are good to tell others.
Right thinking and right praying, as verses 7 and 8 detail, have helped me to calm my mind in troubling times and to keep my eye on God.
From what I've seen and put into practice, keeping my eye on God and seeking Him first in all things is made possible by right living, stated simply in verse 9.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
I love the power and simplicity in the above message:
Put into practice the things we've learned.
Do as God has taught, do as Christ Jesus did, and we will know God's peace.
We can be free from anxiety and worry. Our days can be filled with joy.
Sure, I struggle with anxiety and worry.
I worry about losing my job, paying the mortgage, my health and my partner's health... the list goes on.
And when I start to worry, when I start to feel that pressure and weight on my mind and heart, I turn to God.
I pray to God.
I turn over my worries to Him with gratitude and ask for His grace.
In doing so, in rightly praying, thinking, and living, I am learning to live my happiest life.
What do you do when you feel worried?