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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional 

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  - Philippians 4:6-7

Here in Philippians we see a remarkably simple contrast: do not be anxious! But pray! With little to no explanation on Paul's end, we are left wondering what prayer has to do with anxiety, and the answer may surprise us. We can find our clue in the type of prayer that Paul commands. He instructs us to make requests. Petition God. Ask Him for things.

An anxious life is focused on the uncertain. We worry about our bank account precisely because its nature is perilous. When we put our hope in money, or our family, or our positive disposition, we have placed our security in what is fundamentally insecure. Real security eludes us "where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

Prayer opposes this anxious life. Instead of looking to transitory things for our hope and security, we turn to the unshakable Lord. The Lord who "does not change like shifting shadow." Paul lets us in on the key: don't turn to earthly things for security, but ask God! The peace of God guards our hearts when we pray precisely because it is in prayer where we are not turning to fleeting things for our security, but instead we look to God.

But we cannot forget that we are not simply intended to pray, but pray with thanksgiving. In our thanksgiving, we must recall the things that God has already done on our behalf. We must recall His kindness and faithfulness, His goodness and justice. This solidifies our fight against the anxious life. As we look to God for our security, we are bolstered by the knowledge of his past faithfulness. How much more can we trust Him, knowing what He has already done!

In these 40 days, let us look to God for our security. Let us turn our eyes away from our earthly securities, and in everything, pray. Our prayer is that we will know the peace of God, as it guards our hearts in Christ Jesus. To Him be the glory, now and forever!

John Cunningham
Ministry Fellow at Penn