Brothers and Sisters,
This past Sunday, we considered Phil 4:1-9 and the peace of God. You’ll recall we spent a few minutes talking about anxiety (v. 6) and what God would have us do with it.
Anxiety is a complicated phenomenon with many physical, psychological, and spiritual causes. Sometimes, it requires a medical script. Always, it requires all-encompassing prayer.
To that end, I offer this prayer for the anxious—rooted in Psalm 23. Adapt it for yourself or for others however you see fit. I hope it will be a blessing.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Father, you have always been my shepherd. Though I fear impending want, I know you have never deprived me of what I truly need. Like so many wolves, my anxieties threaten to devour me. Help me to know that between them and me stands the crucified and resurrected Shepherd who laid down His life to keep me safe.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
Indeed, because He has laid down His life for me, I can lie down in the peaceful green pastures of salvation. Though the storms of life in a fallen world continue to afflict my heart and mind, you lead me beside the still waters of your steadfast love. Lead me on, Lord, and help me lay hold of the peace that is mine in Christ.
He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
In a way that surpasses all understanding, you have restored and awakened my soul to the breadth, length, height, and depth of your love for me in Christ. Grant to me now the peace that attends that love and, for the sake of your triune name, send your Spirit to lead me down the paths of righteousness you have set out for me in Christ.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Death’s dark shadow plagues my thoughts and emotions. Its presence asserts itself in the painful decay of my unglorified body and the grievous harm I see done to others here and abroad. Assure me of your presence, Lord. Keep me (and them) from fear. Grant me comfort in your presence, for I know I will never escape your watchful care.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
The enemy of my joy, anxiety whispers the lie in my ear, “the well of God’s blessing has run dry.” Yet you have seated me in heaven and set before me a table whose abundance will know no end. You have perfumed me with the scent of heaven and handed me a bottomless cup of eternity’s best and sweetest wine. Help me feast in your presence.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Your goodness and mercy have found me in Christ. His love will not let me go; it will follow me into the depths of despair and guide me back to the heights of joy. Though I feel like I’m stuck outside in the valley, you have promised that I will dwell secure in your house forever. Be gracious to me, Lord, and bring me in out of the cold.
Your Brother in Christ,