Many years ago, a wise youth pastor said to an 18-year-old me, “if you are still worried about it, you need to pray it through more, and keep praying until you stop worrying.” His theory had always been that we worry about the things we haven’t fully surrendered over to God’s control. In his thoughts then, if we were still worrying, we needed to go back and spend more time praying and surrendering our worry to God.
It was advice I chose to take on board and there have been many times when I have been worrying about my work, or family and I have heard his voice in my head, “key praying until you stop worrying”. Every time I have intentionally continued to place a particular worry before God I have always found a sense of peace.
If we are truly and completely to surrender to God’s control, there would be no need for worry. We would have complete trust in God’s plans. However, since we are still broken and sinful, and not yet completely restored into the fullness God intends for us, we do worry, we do fail to trust him. This passage promises a peace, a peace from God which transcends all understanding. Not only are we promised this when we bring our worries to God (v 7), but also when we live out our faith, and put it into action in our lives (v 9).
The Christian life should be one marked by peace. Peace with God, peace towards one another. Even peace within ourselves. Paul speaks of learning to be “content” whatever the circumstances. In all circumstances, he can be content because God gives him the strength to be so. Contentment doesn’t desire more, it is enough. In a way, it is also a measure of peace, peace within yourself and your own circumstances.
The same youth pastor who challenged me to pray continually until I sensed God’s peace, also taught me the value of journaling my prayers. Writing out my fears, my worries, my desires and asking God to grow and shape me. I still have my first prayer journal, and it has become to me a reminder of God’s faithfulness, his control, and the joy of completely surrendering to him. Perhaps try journaling some of your worries before your loving father today.