Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Tuesday, March 22 Read Philippians 4:1-9

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Prayer Box

My dad was a chronic worrier. I remember well seeing him with his head in his hands, upset about something in life. It took me a while to realize, though, that in the midst of his worry, while his head was bowed, he prayed. I was a worrier too, and for the past 20 years I have heavily relied on these words from Philippians to help me let go of my worries and prayerfully give them over to God.

The words in these verses don’t just tell us not to worry, but also tell us how to do that. We are told to pray with thanksgiving and to let God know exactly what we want and need. This becomes problematic for many of us though, because we worry – that word again – that we are not praying for the right things in the right way for the right reasons. We may even believe that it’s wrong to ask for what we want. But remember, even Jesus prayed for what he wanted when on the night of his betrayal his prayer was, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me, yet not my will but yours be done.”

Perhaps most of all, we fear that our prayers may not be answered – at least not in the way we would want. But, as Christians living in hope, we know that God hears and welcomes all our prayers. In prayer, we thank God for loving us and hearing our prayers. We ask for what we need or want. And then, as Jesus did in his prayer, we leave the results in God’s hands. That may be the most difficult thing.

I have often prayed about a situation or person, thinking I have left the results with God only to find myself worrying and fretting about the same thing over and over again. I have found a remedy for that.

I have a little prayer box on my bedside table. If I find myself repeatedly praying and worrying about what I thought I had turned over to God, I write it on a piece of paper, then put it in my prayer box as a physical way of leaving the outcome of my prayer in God’s hands.

In that letting go and turning over of my worries and wants, I can experience the peace of mind offered in Christ Jesus.

Cheryl Hoops
Retired pastor

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