In Philippians, when Paul is in the closing part of his letter, he gives a beautiful charge.
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
In this passage, we see three different synonyms used.
He also states the way in which we are to be talking with God about our needs, our anxieties, and our troubles.
He says to do so with thanksgiving
Wow, this passage has a lot which can be unpacked, but please allow just a few devotional thoughts, encouragements, and challenges.
- The answer to anxiety will only come from God Himself
So often when we are anxious, it is because we are thinking that we are in control- that we are the source of peace. But, as this passage points out, our hearts and minds will only be at rest when they are at rest in God. They will be at rest because they are being guarded and shielded by the Almighty Lord, the Loving Heavenly Father, and Holy Judge.
- Prayer will take on different forms during your life
Paul uses 3 synonyms. This is used for emphasis. “Go to God!” Paul wants this ingrained in our hearts. “How?” you might ask. Well, whether in formal praying- “Lord, I ask…” or in repeated pleading “God, please, help. God, I need You. I am broken. Help!” or in a statement of fact- “I am in need of help, God. My health is deteriorating/ my finances are broke/ my child is rebelling/ my car broke down. Please fix this.”
- The act of prayer should demonstrate eternal truths
When you pray, you are demonstrating that God is bigger than you. You are showing that God is more powerful than you. You are declaring that the future is in His Able Hands. You are proclaiming that He is wise, and that His answer is best. True prayer is done in a manner that acknowledges God for Who He is, and who you are (notice the intentional capitalization). Prayer is not simply about telling God what you want/ need. It is a declaration of your submission to God. It is a worshiping of God in his grandeur. It is a recognition of his graciousness and mercy to even bend his ear to our pleas. It is a recognition that He is the Loving Father who delights in his children.
- Telling someone not to be anxious without pointing them to God is sinful
Finally, stop telling people not to be anxious. Paul does not try to silence their anxiety. He, just like Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34, takes the one who is worried and anxious and gives them a tour of the grandeur of the eternal God. Paul directs the anxious person to prayer, a prayer which recognizes God for Who He Is, and emphasizes this by saying the resulting peace will come from Him. The anxiety is handed to God, who in turn hands his transcending, eternal, and incomprehensible peace in exchange. An exchange which can happen only because of the perfect life, death, and resurrection of the incarnate God (read Philippians 2:6-11)
PS a good article on worship can be found here – http://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/bible-answers/spirituallife/what-is-true-worship.html
Also, just to clarify and possible misunderstandings. When referencing God, only the pronouns You, Him, and He (and Me when you are quoting God) are grammatically necessary to capitalize. I choose to capitalize Himself out of reverence, and will capitalize “His” and “Who” when I am either using a title for God, or am trying to emphasize God in contrast to someone/ something else.