The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, October 6, 2022, comes to us from Jennifer Jennings of Tennessee.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-9 NRSV
Worrying seemed to come naturally to me. I worried about the past: Did I say the wrong thing? Make the wrong choice? And I worried about the future: Is everything going to work out? Will I do the right thing? This pattern made it difficult to enjoy life. For years, I searched for ways to change. I found lots of things that helped: yoga, exercise, and books on the topic. My doctor prescribed meditation or contemplative prayer. Contemplative prayer is about listening: offering a prayer and then focusing on breathing in and out. This allows us to hear the answers God sends. It might not be words that we hear but rather a feeling of love or comfort.
Through prayer, I have come to know in my heart that God loves me, wants the best for me, and is always with me. God takes away my worries and fills me with divine peace and love. In the past I had been concerned that my issues where not big enough to bother God with, but now I know that God loves every person and wants to help us all. Now when I start the old pattern of worrying, I try to recognize it and offer a prayer. Then I take some deep breaths and wait for the peace of God to fill my mind and heart. While worrying closes me off, feeling connected with God’s love opens me up to live my life joyously.
“6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul offers very sound advice. The call not to worry, is an invitation to trust in God’s ability to manage the uncertainties of life. Jennifer’s reflection reminds us of a helpful tool for combating worry, contemplative prayer. Communing with God, through contemplative prayer, help us dwell in the peace that the Apostle Paul references in his letter to the Philippians. Taking time to quiet our hearts and minds through prayer, allows us to hear and feel the comfort God is making available to us. Worry seeks to bind us in never-ending knots, while prayer seek to free us from the weight of worry. I invite you to employ the discipline of contemplative prayer in the moments when worry threatens your peace.
Dear God, take away our worries and fill us with peace. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
-- Jennifer Jennings
Those overwhelmed with worry.
Thought for the day:
In both the big and little concerns of life, God wants to help me.