Anxiety for Nothing, Day 3 by Max Lucado
In Luke 18:1–8, Jesus told a parable about a persistent widow who went before an unjust judge. The woman so pestered the judge that he finally agreed to her request just to get her to go away. Jesus ended the parable by saying, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (verse 8 NIV).
What are you to make of this parable? Is God a reluctant judge? Are you the marginalized widow? Is prayer a matter of pestering God until he breaks down and gives you what you want? No, this is a parable of contrast, not comparison. God is not like the judge in the story. He is not reluctant in answering the prayers of his people. As a child of the King, you can turn to him at any moment. He never places you on hold or tells you to call again later. God loves the sound of your voice. Always. He doesn’t hide when you call. He hears your prayers.
But why present your requests to him at all? What’s the purpose when he already knows what you are going to ask? Prayer is actually for your benefit. It allows you to act in faith on what you know about his character. When you pray in specific ways—for the particulars of your problems—and you see God respond in specific ways, your faith grows. You come to trust that God will always be there for you, even in the midst of the most anxiety-producing moments.
Prayer is simply a conversation with your heavenly Father. You place your anxieties in his hands and remind him—and yourself—of the promises he has made in his Word. You find a promise that fits your problem and build your prayer around it. These prayers of faith touch the heart of God and activate the angels of heaven. Miracles are set into motion. You experience less consternation; more supplication. Fewer anxious thoughts, more prayer-filled thoughts.
Thanksgiving is the means God uses to help you take the focus off yourself and onto him. Gratitude is a powerful weapon in the arsenal against anxiety because it leads you out of the land “if only” and into the realm of “already.” The anxious heart says, “Lord, if only I had this, that, or the other, I’d be okay.” The grateful heart says, “Lord, you’ve already given me this, that, and the other thing. Thank you for your blessings, God.”
Christ-based contentment will turn you into a strong person. It helps you realize that since no one can take your Christ, no one can take your joy. Failure can’t steal your joy, because Jesus is greater than your sin. Disappointments can’t steal your joy, because even though your plans may not work out, God’s plans always will. Not even death can steal your joy, because Jesus has even conquered death itself.
What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have. You have God, who is crazy about you, and the forces of heaven to monitor and protect you. You have the living presence of Jesus within you. In Christ you have everything. So anchor your heart to the character of God. Treat each anxious thought with a grateful one, and prepare yourself for a new day of joy.
Do you ever feel like you are pestering God when you pray? How does knowing God is eager to hear from you affect your desire to talk to him?
What attitude do you tend to have when you pray? How would your prayers change if you focused on what God has already done in your life?
What anxious thoughts will you pray for specifically today? How will you remind yourself of God’s faithfulness in the past as you pray specifically for these needs?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7