Reflection for the New Year

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6; NIV)

At the end of 2021 I encouraged you to look into the back view mirror of the year with gratitude, so to speak.

Now I invite you to look at the road ahead in 2022. You might respond to this invitation: That’s easy to say! I can’t see the whole of the road, it is brand new to me, it is unknown. Most of it is still concealed, covered by thick fog! I have no idea how many turns it has, or will it take me uphill or downhill. I’m concerned about this road ahead, especially in view of the recent roads we had to take in the past two years!

Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6 are wise and encourageing advice for the unknown foggy journey ahead: do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation pray! It is easy to be anxious about things we do not know, and we all do get anxious time and again, since we have experienced so many mishaps, and disappointments in the past. Paul knows this. I am sure he was anxious a number of times in his life too. But he experienced God’s amazing power and comforting presence in extremely hairy situations. So here he confidently suggests, even commands us an alternative: PRAY!

The root of anxiety is doubt, fear, or lack of trust – prayer, on the other hand is rooted in trust, and faith in God. Anxiety sips away our energy – prayer rather increases and motivates our energy. Anxiety creates tunnel vision for us, it focuses only what possible trouble and potential calamity may be ahead. But the praying person has a wide horizon opening up before them, they can see even what is invisible and regard it as reality. The anxious believes they got good reason to be afraid. The praying person is convinced that they have got very good reason not to be afraid, because they focus on God, and Jesus, their Saviour, and look forward with holy curiosity to see how God will reveal His power, grace, and love in a new situation. The anxious person already carries the troubles of tomorrow today! The praying person takes the burdens of today to the Lord and carry them together.

It is not the anxious that stands on the firm ground of reality, because they already battle with imagined difficulties. It is the praying person that stands firmly rooted in the ground of reality, for they count with the visible facts, and also count with the Lord of all creation! They count on His grace and lovingkindness.

So, what does it mean to pray? According to the Lord Jesus it means pouring out our heart before God as a little child would do that to their daddy, for they know that He loves them and is able and willing to do anything for them!

Let’s pray this year, spending more time with hands put together in payer, supplication, and thanksgiving than with wringing our hands in anxiety. This is a worthy agenda for the new year for all of us. Try Praying!

[from GV]

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