Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, school field trips into Manhattan were not uncommon. One such trip in the early 70s was to the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Although I can’t begin to compare my personal sense of loss to those whose family members are no longer with us, I can say that my memories of the city tied me to the attacks in a notable way. This became evident as I watched bits and pieces of the many memorial services being offered around the NYC area.
This is Part 2 of a multi-part writing on the topic of, “anxiety.” Anxiety and its close relatives, namely stress and fear, were evident following the 9/11 attacks and are still with us today. I did a web search on, “stress related to 9/11,” and received over 200 million hits listing everything from acid reflux to suicide. Last time we talked about anxiety and its effects of stress on our bodies. Mentioned also was what it means to pray with specifics and how to keep things in proper perspective by being thankful. Today I want to talk about one little phrase found in the 6th verse of Philippians 4. The verse reads:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your request to God.” It is those last 2 words, “To God” that we will look at today.
The phrase when examined in the language of the New Testament carries for more weight than a general direction of the prayer. The expression denotes the idea of knowing someone in such a way that their actions or response are predictable. Here are some biblical examples where such a phrase was used.
“The Word was with God”. (John 1:1.)
“Aren’t his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:3.)
In the first, we see Jesus (AKA “the Word”) was WITH God from the beginning of eternity. Obviously we are not just dealing with a matter of proximity. Rather there was an intimate knowledge of one another. The same is true with those who grew up with Jesus and his family as noted in the second reference. These that were reared in the same area probably went to the same schools, celebrated birthdays together, etc. To sum it up, our phrase “to God” means that we are praying out of relationship because we know Him and have learned how He thinks and operates on our behalf. It means that we are developing or have developed a trusting relationship so much so that we can talk to God in specifics, and with a thankful heart. Abraham, (a friend of God), prayed and “bargained” with God to get his family out of two cities that were facing imminent destruction. That’s something a friend could do if the friendship had developed to that place. Get the idea? God never meant for to live with stress and fear.
Develop a walking-talking relationship with God and He will lift anxiety from you.