Some people say that worrying is like the back-and-forth motion of a rocking chair. You’re doing something, but getting nowhere. We all face cares, always have struggles, always have issues that trouble us. No one is exempt. But Jesus asks, “Will all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matthew 6:27). Worry does nothing to change our concerns or troubles, but it changes one thing—who we are. Worry changes our personality and makes us frustrated, doubtful, irritable, and miserable. It causes us to miss the beauty of the moment and the fruitfulness in our lives.
When we worry, we may not realize that we’re really saying, “God, You’re not big enough to take care of my problems.” Jesus talks about this in Matthew 13 in the Parable of the Sower, who was planting seed in his field. The sower represents God, and the seed represents the Word of God that He plants and is trying to get into our life every day. But Jesus warned that the condition of our heart can be like thorny ground. He says, “The Word gets planted in your heart and begins to grow, but the worries of this life choke the Word, making it unfruitful.” Worry literally strangles the seed, makes it unproductive, and chokes us spiritually.
So how do we win the war over worry? The apostle Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). He didn’t just say, “Don’t be anxious.” He followed it up with a practice that you and I can do every day. He told us to pray. We are to talk to God about everything that concerns us, which is exactly what prayer is. He was saying, “Pray about everything. Turn your worry into prayer. Take your worry list and put it in God’s hands.”
Are you worrying, or are you praying? Are you living stressed out, or are you peaceful? Prayer and worry can’t be mixed. They’re opposites. Don’t pull up a chair and have a conversation with all the anxious thoughts that are trying to drag you down. Don’t allow anxieties to push you around anymore. Take your daily worries and anxieties and begin to offer them up to God and bring Him into the middle of your challenges, and it becomes a prayer. Offer up this prayer with thanksgiving in your heart, saying, “What are my worries compared to my great big God?” Then the apostle Paul adds, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).