– Philippians 4:6
Feeling anxious? Then commit that feeling to prayer. A good definition of anxiety is a painful or apprehensive uneasiness of the mind, usually over an impending or anticipated issue, and this looks very much like a lack of trust. I know, I’ve been there. Jesus tells us to not worry about tomorrow because tomorrow’s troubles are sufficient for the day (Matt 6:34). Why bother worrying about something that might not even happen tomorrow? If you can change it, change it! If not, why worry? Just pray about it. Trust God with the unseen things and with the things you can’t change. Pray, pray, and then pray some more. It’s a great way to reduce anxiety.
How is a petition different from prayer? It is very similar, but it is basically appealing to an authority with respect to a particular cause and to present a formal request in humility. That authority, of course, is God. When there was a young person I was trying to help, I said to write down their petition or request and present it to God because they’re appealing to the highest authority there is, and that is God. Paul delineated prayer from petitions by saying to not be anxious about anything by putting everything before God in prayer and petition.
It’s hard to be anxious and thankful at the same time. Worry is not from God but has its origin from the human mind. We cannot expect God to change anything supernaturally if we are worried about it. Instead of worrying about what might happen, give thanks to God for what has happened: your salvation, your family, your job, your home, or any other number of things you can think of that are great reasons to be thankful for. Scientific studies have been done and reached comprehensive conclusions that gratitude (or thankfulness) reduces anxiety. If we have a mindset of thankfulness, it can replace our mindset of anxiety.
I have heard many recommend meditation, diet, rest, biofeedback, and any number of methods to reduce anxiety, but none of them recommended praying to the Creator of the human mind and the only One Who can do anything about the things we worry about. Some say keep an open mind, but the problem with meditating and keeping an open mind is that it lets anything in. Most people learn to shut their doors at night for safety’s sake. So shut everything else out, and don’t “be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6). Modern psychology ought to try that because it works!