Philippians 4:6-7 says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” While this biblical command sounds so simple, which of us has easily been able to obey? To be free from anxiety is a freedom few of us experience, and many have given up on it altogether. Yet, biblically, it’s more than a suggestion- it’s a command. One of our disciple-makers has personally walked this path and experienced the life-changing freedom of letting Christ’s peace rule in his heart and mind.
Finding Peace through Prayer
The key is there, in the very verse that commands peace: prayer and gratitude. As our disciple-maker shares “One of the reasons worry and anxiety controls our life is because we don’t pray about it. We carry it and the burden of it, but God never intended you to carry that burden. Jesus said: “Come unto me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In other words, let me carry it! How do you begin? Begin with Thanksgiving.”
Philippians 4:6-7 emphasizes the importance of gratitude, urging us to enter into prayer with thanksgiving and praise, and it’s not the only place that does so. Philippians 1:3 and Psalm 100:4 underscore this simple tool to live free from anxiety, setting the stage for a profound shift from anxiety to communion with God. Even secular psychologists recognize that gratitude shifts the posture of the human heart, leading to a trend of gratitude journals and meditation. How much more powerful for Christians who can thank the very God who gave every good and perfect gift, resetting the heart and mind on thanksgiving before bringing our anxious requests?
Beneath the Surface of Anxiety
Our disciple-maker candidly shared his personal struggle with anxiety rooted in the pressure to perform. From early academic pursuits to family life and professional endeavors, the weight of expectations created a persistent undercurrent of worry. Surely he’s not alone. Many of us grapple with the burden of performance in various aspects of life, getting lost in the desperation to improve, measure up, and impress.
God’s Perspective on Numbers
Our disciple-maker reached a crucial revelation that can change the game for all of us: God is interested in numbers and output, but not for the sake of performance. The biblical narrative shows us time and time again that numbers symbolize people, freedom, and transformation. It emphasizes that while God desires to produce numbers, the focus should always remain on the divine force behind those numbers – a compassionate God. When we lose sight of who He is and what He is doing, we are doomed to anxiety induced toil.
A Prayer for Performance
Drawing inspiration from Philippians 1:6, our disciple-maker shares a powerful prayer strategy. He asks God to do the very thing he is worried about, understanding that God initiates, performs, and completes the work. It’s a dynamic collaboration where our role is to surrender our will and actively participate in what God desires to perform.
Referencing Philippians 2:13, the discourse sheds light on our responsibility in God’s grand performance. Surrendering our will and aligning our actions with God’s plan becomes paramount. Jeremiah 1:9-12 reinforces this idea, emphasizing that God watches over His word to perform it, and our actions play a pivotal role.
From Worries to Actions
Our disciple-maker has been putting these strategies into place for a year now, and the results are extraordinary. In his own words “When I first started the church in 2010, there were times I wasn’t sure we would be able to make the lease payment, but God always performed what we needed. Then in 2015, I was worried about raising the money to buy our building ($150,000 in 3 months and with 1 month to go we needed $50,000). God performed what only He could do, but there were action steps He gave us to do (We paused and prayed Monday-Friday at Noon on Zoom till 12:30, talking to people, and each giving all we could give).
I worried about seeing the church grow after Covid, but God turned my worries into prayer and then into action: This year I focused on loving one person at a time and making disciples one person at a time and this year here’s what God has performed:
- 20 people have been discipled
- Every one of them is having spiritual conversations and discipling others
- 16 groups have been started ranging from 2-3 people meeting to 20 people.
- 10 people have been baptized
- 45 people in other parts of the world were trained in how to have spiritual conversations with others and began bible study groups with them, leading to 21 new groups.
But here’s what’s most important: People’s lives have been transformed and healed and will never be the same, and now they have a mission to go and do the same.”
A Year of Transformation
Our disciple-maker’s experience is a testament to the transformative power of aligning personal actions with divine performance. From discipleship to baptisms and global outreach, lives were touched, transformed, and set on mission.
Take Action Today
We can and must apply these same principles to our own lives. To sum it all up in our disciple-maker’s words “What’s a pressure, a worry, an anxiety God is calling you to pray about? Pause and pray right now: Thank God first, praise Him…Then give it to God and ask Him to perform it! What’s an action you will take this week? What’s something God wants you to do that He wants to perform?”