Why Pray When You Can Worry?

By Alan Allegra

It seems the older we get, the more we worry. Is it because there is more to worry about in the world today or because there is more that can happen to us as we age? Perhaps it’s because we feel helpless as our health and strength slip away. Whatever the reason, there is no reason for us to worry.

“What are you, nuts? Don’t you pay attention to what is going on in the world?” I can hear our readers loud and clear. But even louder is the voice from heaven that cries, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). All around us is the dissonance of worldly declarations from terrorists, cultural watchdogs, economic advisers, government demagogues, and healthcare experts, convincing us that the sky is falling and we’re on the brink. It’s enough to trouble the strongest heart.

There are two things we can worry about. We can worry about getting caught doing things we shouldn’t, and we can worry about things we can’t do anything about. Both have an easy solution. In the first case, don’t do, or stop doing, whatever it is you shouldn’t be doing! The second case is easier to fix and more difficult to understand: pray.

When our hearts are troubled, Jesus has the cure: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). He doesn’t just say, “Don’t worry, be happy!” He offers his peace to replace the worry in our heart. His peace doesn’t come from stocks, bonds, political promises or extended warranties. It comes directly from him by faith.

When the disciples worried because Jesus was leaving them to go to the Father, he said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). If they really believed in God, they would trust His Son as well and live in his peace. Many people believe in “God” but have no peace because they haven’t put their faith in Christ, since “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Without having peace with God through forgiveness, we can’t trust Him for anything else. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

What part, then, does prayer play in the search for peace? It is through sincere prayer that you “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). You give him all your troubles. Notice, this time, the promise attached to the command to pray: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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” (Philippians 4:6, 7). But observe that God doesn’t promise to give you everything you ask for–he promises peace. That’s because this act of faith shows that you trust him to provide what’s best, not always what you think you need.

God’s promises have been around a lot longer than any crisis that has existed, does exist, will exist or only exists in your mind! “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46:13).

Alan Allegra is an adult ministries teacher and emcee at an Evangelical Church in Pennsylvania. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: http://www.mcall.com. Available for writing.

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