Do you worry too much, fear “what if?” and feel a lot of stress about your life? Worrying is universal. Here is a practical way not to worry that involves saying prayers to God using the Bible verse in Philippians 4:8.
How to do this prayer practice:
Sometimes in our daily living of Faith, we have the “not good enough” slump, the “what ifs…” and the “worry about this and worry about that” fearful feeling that the sky is falling and we have to fix it. My Mother called it “letting the squirrel’s runaround.” This prayer idea is for those of us who find ourselves in this spiritual “funk.”
1. Decide to pray.
During this recession/financial crisis, I found myself worrying about food, housing, education of my children, my husband’s health needs, what the neighbors and church members would say if they knew how bad our finances were.
One day I was so sick with worry, I fell to my knees and asked God to rescue me. A Bible verse seemed to come into my mind. “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) So I started this prayer idea.
2. Get your Bible, paper and a pen and start a written meditation.
Using a piece of paper, a pen, and a Bible, write the text: Philippians 4:8 at the top of the page
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right
Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-
If anything is excellent or praiseworthy-
Think about such things. ~(New International Version)
3. Write down your worries and then ask God what truth He can show you about each worry.
Now draw a line down the middle of the page underneath the Phil.4:8 text.
On the left side list one worry or concern or what if. Underneath that worry or concern or what if, list another one, and another until you have listed them all.
On the right side list what is true about that worry. List what is praiseworthy about it.
As you list the truth concerning this worry, listen for God’s voice. What truth is God showing me concerning this worry?
4. Mediate on the overarching truths about God and his care for you.
Next look again at the text from Philippians 4:8. Whatever is true. Think about God’s truth. God wrote a whole book – the Bible – of letters telling you the truth. You are God’s beloved child. (First John 4:7,8) No matter what, God will never leave you or forsake you. (Romans 8:38) Not even the gates of hell will prevail against the love God has for you. What is truth? God’s word is Truth.
Whatever is praiseworthy. Life is praiseworthy. See the rain, hear the wind, feel the sunshine, be still and know God. Even in the depths of our pain, the beauty of life, the love of God, the hope of faith shines the light of life and love.
My personal tips and experience:
After I listed my worry and asked God to show me the truth about that worry, my situation hadn’t changed, but I had. By the time I finished with my list, I was less anxious, and much more hopeful.
How to fit this prayer idea into your daily schedule:
At first it may take 20 min. to work your way through the worries to the truth. However, today I find that I can take a short break at work and run my worries through in three to five minutes, many times finding solutions to difficult situations.
Historical Christian Origins
The desert mothers and fathers of our faith used a type of truth bearing scripture test in the discernment process of decision making. They were the First Century Christians who tried to study the Scriptures and understand the mysteries of how God “speaks to us” and to understand how we can “hear God speak to us.” History refers to them as mystics because they developed many ways to experience the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. In the 20th Century Mother Teresa would be one who lived out the “spiritual discipline” of the teachings of the desert mothers and fathers in her work with the poor of the world.
Copyright 2012 Rev. Barbara Ingram. All rights reserved.