The beginning of Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing . . .” In this case, the word “careful” isn’t speaking of being careful to look both ways when we cross the street. It’s a literal idea of being “full of cares” or “full of worries.” The way we would normally say it is “be anxious for nothing” or “do not worry about anything.” We worry about a lot of things in life, most of them being things that we cannot control or that will not actually happen anyway. But whether we can control them or not, we still worry about them. So this verse tells us not to worry about them. We can see that as a wonderful thing. We know we shouldn’t worry about them. We want to stop worrying about them. But if we’re a well-trained worrier, when we decide to stop worrying about them, then we promptly begin to worry about if we are not worrying about them. It’s easy to recognize the command and the need to stop worrying, but it is much harder to put that command into practice.
But Philippians 4 gives us the solution to worry. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The solution to worrying is turning to God in prayer. We are to worry about nothing while we are to pray about everything. But that kind of worry-free praying is a unique prayer. It’s not giving our need to God one minute in prayer and then taking it back to keep worrying about it the next minute. When we truly give things over to God in prayer, then we are letting go of them. We are admitting that the solution to our problem lies outside of our control, and we are giving it over to the One who can control it. Now that’s not to say that God doesn’t give us responsibility through it. He very well may give us responsibility as part of the solution. But when that happens, we are acting in accordance to what God has determined to be the solution instead of in our own strength and wisdom. So worry-free praying gives control of the situation over to God and waits on Him to provide the solution. That is the solution that God has given us for the worry in our lives.
What happens when we do this? What is the result when we give things over to God in prayer? Philippians 4:7 is a continuation of the idea in verse 6, and it says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Worry and peace are incompatible. If we are worrying, then we are lacking peace. But conversely, if we are truly at peace, then we won’t be worrying. When we truly give things over to God in prayer, then God gives us peace that replaces worry. This peace passes understanding. We may not understand what God is doing in our lives, but we are at peace that He understands and that He will do what is best for us. We may not understand why things are happening the way that they are in our lives, but we can be at peace that God does understand why. We may not even understand how we can have peace in our current circumstances. We may look at what is going on and wonder how we could possibly be at peace without worry. But at the same time, we are experiencing the peace of God. God calls on us not to worry, and He gives us the solution for how to stop worrying. The solution to worry is prayer. When we pray, then we are giving control of the problem and solution to God. When we do that, then God gives us peace. Prayer replaces worry with peace.