Pray Instead of Worry
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray.” (Philippians 4:4, 6, NLT)
Contrary to popular opinion, God wants you to be happy. Many people don’t believe that to be true; they think the more dull you are, the more spiritual you are. But the Bible says, “Happy are the people whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 144:15 GNT).
Not only does God want you to be happy, but he tells you how to be happy! In fact, God has a four-part formula for happiness. It’s found in the book of Philippians, and we’ll look at it together over the next few days.
The first part of the happiness formula is this: Worry about nothing. The Bible says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray” (Philippians 4:4, 6 NLT).
Worry basically means one thing: You’re not trusting God in a particular area. It’s the opposite of faith. It’s like saying, “God, I really don’t believe you’ve got everything under control.”
Have you noticed how worry never solves your problems? It only takes up a lot of energy. It can’t change the past, and it can’t change the future -- but it can certainly ruin the present. Somebody once said that worry is like a rocking chair; it will give you something to do, but you don’t get anywhere with it.
Jesus said it like this: “Don’t ever worry about tomorrow. After all, tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 GW).
What if you converted the energy you use to worry about something to pray about it instead? Rather than pushing the panic button, what if you pushed the prayer button?
Prayer is your communication with God and the first thing you should do when you start to worry -- not a last resort. Some people say, “We’ve tried everything else. We might as well pray!” Instead, take your concerns to the Lord first so that you won’t waste energy worrying.
You can’t worry and be happy at the same time. That’s why the first step to happiness is to stop worrying -- and start praying! It’s not always easy to do -- people are natural worriers. Give it a try today.
As you stop worrying and start praying, you’ll find new power in your life as you live for God’s purposes every day.
Talk It Over
Do people see you as a person who trusts in God, or as a person who worries?
In what area of your life are you not trusting God?
What would your day look like if you prayed more and worried less? How would your happiness be affected?
This devotional © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.