I recently came across a New Year’s resolution I had written during my junior year in college. They were short and sweet aspirations written out as prayers to God.
In addition to listing some lofty health goals, I also asked God to help me prioritize my quiet time and trust Him more, especially with my future. “Help me to trust and not worry,” I added to the top of the page. I sealed my prayers in an envelope addressed to “2013 Daneem” and tucked them away in the back of my planner.
A year later, almost to the day, I experienced some unexplained health issues that left me bed-ridden for weeks with no energy and no appetite. Looking back, I’m pretty sure it had been self-inflicted. For most of 2013, the year I was supposed to “trust and not worry,” I had been stressing about life after college and it had finally taken a toll on my body.
Sometimes I wonder if my efforts failed the moment I stuffed my prayers in an envelope and set them aside. If I’m being honest, I think I spent more time repeating a mantra of “don’t worry” than actually taking the time to get real with God about my anxieties that year.
In Philippians 4, Paul tells us, “do not be anxious about anything,” but it’s more than just an adage. He encourages us to do something about it — to pray and “present [our] requests to God” in a couple of ways (v. 6).
By prayer and petition
What is prayer and petition?
It’s really just talking to God and asking Him for help. Tell Him what’s on your mind, and don’t be afraid to get specific. We’re told we can come to Him “in every situation” (v. 6) so no request is too big or too small for God to handle.
Take the time to thank God for the ways He’s been faithful to you in the past.
If you’re struggling to remember what He’s done, maybe it’s time to start keeping a journal. How has He blessed you or answered your prayers over the years? You can even start by thanking God for the small things in your day-to-day — it’s an opportunity to see Him working in the details of your life.
When we do this, Paul says we’re promised peace that “transcends all understanding” that will “guard [our] hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7), a peace that’s impossible to find in ourselves or outside of Him.
As we head into the new year, what do you find yourself worrying about? Maybe the fear of the unknown is bringing up some new challenges or anxieties.
Let’s bring them to God and exchange them for the peace He has ready for us.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Daneem Kim, who serves as a youth leader at Maine Street Baptist Church in Brunswick, Maine, and was originally published by the Baptist Convention of New England.