Summary: The answer to anxiety is prayer.
Perhaps you’ve seen the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? It’s a comedy set during America’s Depression era.
The story revolves around three petty criminals who escape from a chain gang. George Clooney stars as the leader named Everett Ulysses McGill. He tells his companions that he has buried money from a bank robbery near his property in order to persuade them to make a run for it. But near the end of the movie, the law catches up with them, and even though they have been pardoned by the governor, the lawman who has been pursuing them is intent on hanging them. As they are about to be hanged, Everett, Delmer, and Pete stand trembling in front of a large oak, deep in the woods and far away from anyone who can help them. They turn their eyes up to the three ropes that hang from the old tree. Everett, who never had much use for God before, drops to his knees and begins to pray for a miracle from God. “Lord, please look down and recognize us poor sinners. Please, Lord, I just want to see my daughters again. I’ve been separated from my family for so long. I know I’ve been guilty of pride and short dealing. I’m sorry I turned my back on you. Forgive me. We’re helpless, Lord. Help us, please.” As Everett ends his prayer, a small stream of water begins to run around his knees. His companions also notice the water and stare at it in confusion. As the wind blows, suddenly a great wall of water sweeps away everyone and everything in its path — including the lawmen who were about to hang them. The next scene shows Everett, Delmer, and Pete gasping for air as they break the surface of the water. Delmer raises his voice yelling, “It’s a miracle We prayed to God, and he pitied us ” Everett, who just a short time was crying out to God for just such a miracle, chastises his friends as “hayseeds” for believing that it was an act of God. He says, “Don’t be ignorant. There’s a perfectly scientific explanation for what just happened.” Pete says, “That ain’t the tune you were singin’ back there at the gallows ” Everett brushes it off and says, “Well, any human being will cast about in moment of stress.”
There are many people like Everett who use God in a time of crisis and then abandon him when life seems back under their control. But the only reason we can have the confidence to ask, seek and knock is because of an intimate relationship of trust and mutual love. It is a love that follows God and obeys him.
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).
The answer to anxiety is prayer.
Paul outlines the beautiful promise that when we turn from anxiety to prayer and thanksgiving, God will give us his own peace.
If you want some relief from the stress of the daily grind then take the coming day into your prayers.
1. TAKE THE COMING DAY INTO YOUR PRAYERS
Life is like a book and each day is like a new page. As we read today’s page and think on it, The Holy Spirit will reveal what to pray about.
So in the morning, think about the day ahead. Try to anticipate what’s coming as best you can, and talk to God about it.
Now, obviously you can’t predict your day entirely. There are always unknown elements – good and bad surprises – sudden temptations, tragedies and opportunities. But you can pray about these as well.
Praying in advance, is something Jesus did often. Before he chose the twelve disciples – the men who were to be the nucleus of the Church – he spent the entire night before in prayer.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles (Luke 6:12-13)
Another time, Jesus had a very important question he had to ask his disciples. And he prayed about it in advance ...
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" (Luke 9:20)
And of course, Jesus started the last and greatest day of his life on earth with prayer.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:39-42)