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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
Get the Conversation Going: Find conversation starters for the group or with a friend.
Going to the Word: Read the Scripture and ask a question to get the group thinking.
Read these verses out loud:
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”—Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV)
In life, there will always be things to worry about, things that cause anxiety. Whether it’s a pandemic, trials at work or home, or the often-suffocating pressures of life, there is no shortage of troubles in this world. So, how do we deal with it? How do we fight against it?
The apostle Paul tells us that we can be free from the unbelievably heavy burden of worry and anxiety, that we can experience the kind of confidence in God that frees our minds from the clutches of anxiety and develops in us such a level of dependence on Christ that His peace sweeps over us. The key to experiencing this peace and confidence is prayer—praying in faith with passion and sincerity.
When we immerse ourselves in prayer instead of our cares, when we genuinely pray for God’s sovereign will instead of ours and have a sincere, thankful heart, then His Spirit can work in us to free us from worry. And as we do this, as we pray “in everything,” He will give us a peace that goes beyond comprehension, a peace we cannot find anywhere else. And that peace will sweep over us, it will comfort our hearts and give us a supernatural confidence and steadiness we never thought possible, because it comes through the Spirit of the One who raised Christ from the dead.
As a man who had experienced more troubles than most people can ever fathom, Paul’s words carried serious weight and credibility. There is no doubt he spoke from experience. And yet, despite everything, the apostle was completely at peace. And it’s a peace even he, a highly educated, logical, intelligent man who had studied the Scriptures his whole life couldn’t comprehend. His prayer life and connection to the Spirit gave him a confidence in God that transcended any and all circumstances. He knew beyond any doubt that God’s plan is perfect and good.
The peace of God through Jesus guarded and guided Paul’s heart. He wasn’t worried because he had the peace of God, which he received through prayer, and we can have the same thing!
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”—Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
"Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield.”—Genesis 15:1 (NIV)
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will surely help you.”—Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
With the winds howling and the storm raging, Jesus walks on water to meet His disciples and says to them, “Fear not! I am here” (Mark 6:50 NIV). These verses show us something powerful: The remedy for fear is trust.
In almost every instance in the Bible, God’s response to our fear is “I am with you.” Think about it, friends . . . Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” You see, as Christians, we never have to walk in fear or be consumed by it because the same perfect love that drove Jesus to the cross also drives out fear in us through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:18)!
Because of this, we can walk in peace, courage, boldness, and a supernatural strength. We can stand strong in the face of fiery furnaces and live with confidence and peace in the midst of a global pandemic. “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me” (Philippians 4:13 GNT).
Keep the Conversation Going: Choose questions to create openness.
Keep Going This Week: Commit to a step and live it out this week!
When we press into Him who is always with us and use the great weapon of prayer against anxiety, God will give us His peace (Jesus) that passes all of our understanding, and guard our hearts and minds. This is His promise!
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.