Recently, I was hit with a few surprises that left me feeling anxious and concerned about several ministries. For most of the night before a critical meeting, I was unable to sleep and started praying. In addition, I started searching through Scripture and even googled prayers for anxiousness. I found a lot of Scripture discovered a beautiful devotion and prayer written by Gail Rodgers based on 1 Peter in the Bible.
“Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling Each one should use whatever gift they have received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms.” 1 Peter 4:7-10
Gail Rodgers pointed out five things from 1 Peter to remember when feeling anxious or afraid.
1. Be Clear minded. – Stay focused on God. Look above the circumstances and trust in God’s guidance.
2. Be self-controlled. Pay attention to what is happening within your heart and mind and choose to dwell on the power of the Holy Spirit to help steady you. He will give you the power not to lean on unhealthy solutions in uncertain times.
3. Pray. Acknowledge God in every area of your life. Invite God to come into your work, your relationships, the question marks in your future.
4. Be hospitable. How can we provide hospitality to those around us even when we ourselves are burdened? How can we extend welcome, warmth and generosity in kindness?
5. Use our gifts to serve others. How can we have a servant’s heart in the midst of our struggles?
Are you feeling anxious? Be clear minded, stay focused and trust in God’s guidance. Be self-controlled and choose to dwell on the power of the Holy Spirit to steady you. Pray and invite God to come into your work, your relationships, even your question marks. Be hospitable to those around you even when you feel burdened. Use your gifts to serve others with a servant’s heart in the midst of struggles.
The next morning, after sharing this devotion, I passed out several verses, one to each person and asked them to share something about how that verse helped to relieve anxious feelings in the past or added meaning to their present circumstances.
That’s when the miracle happened. God went to work on all of us to relieve our anxiety and burdens.
The first person read: “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7
She then shared how this verse was given to her during a particularly difficult time. Being given this particular verse during this particular time was further proof that God was continuing to relieve her anxiety.
Another person read: “Casting all your anxieties on God, because God cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 He talked about how this particular Scripture brought comfort in the midst of a crisis with one of his grandchildren. He knew it by heart and nearly cried as he shared the meaning with us.
“Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22. One Scripture after another was read followed by a story of how God relieved anxious moments but more importantly how God worked miracles in the midst of their struggles.
Another read: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. He summed it up well: “In the midst of our anxiety, God brings comfort, reassurance and hope.”
What about you? Are you feeling anxious? “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
God taught our group and me a valuable lesson. Sometimes in the midst of our anxiety, we need to trust that God will see us through in often surprising ways. I was feeling the pressure to provide answers but instead, God provided comfort and relief in the midst of our anxiety and taught us all a valuable lesson. I pray that in the midst of your anxious moments, you discover God’s formula for relief.
Gail Rodgers ended her devotion with the following prayer: “Precious Lord, You are amazing in the clarity you give us as to how to live. Today, as we face the uncertainty of the moment. Please helps us to stay focused on You today, to choose to rely on the power of Your Spirit within us, to pray about everything and to look beyond ourselves to offer kindness and love to those around us who also are expecting their own uncertain times. Thank you that You give us all we need to walk today right where we are. Thank you that tomorrow You will again provide all we need. May we live in this day and in this moment sheltered in Your love. In the strong name of Jesus we pray with thanksgiving. Amen.”