Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7
Are you stressed out today? Too much on the plate? Not sure how you’ll get it all done? Have something you are just dreading and can’t wait for it to be over? We all have these thoughts. It’s normal. That doesn’t make it easy. Here are two verses of scripture I use to help myself calm down when I’m stressed out.
Have no anxiety about anything. What? You are probably thinking to yourself “You’re kidding me, how can we have no anxiety about anything? What kind of planet are YOU living on, Father?” Well, I’d be a hypocrite if I told you that I never felt anxiety. I do, all the time. However, here’s the thing with anxiety. It generally doesn’t change the outcome of something. The stress and worry, if anything, creates a higher probability for a negative outcome. Being careful or meticulous can most certainly affect the outcome of something. If I’m anxious, for example, about having a blood test, it doesn’t change the outcome. I’m not going to get better results, the test isn’t going to go any faster, or hurt any more or less depending on my anxiety level. To the contrary, I can become so anxious that I actually make it worse. 
Saint Paul tells us not to have anxiety. He doesn’t say don’t give important things any thought, just not to be anxious about things. 
In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. The antidote to anxiety is prayer.  Prayer is what I use to calm my nerves. An important, and often overlooked, aspect of prayer especially in times of anxiety is thanksgiving. Many people who go to God when they are stressed out forget to go to Him with thanksgiving and they go right to supplication. In every situation, it is important to first thank God that we are even still alive to make our supplications known to Him.
Let’s say you have an important opportunity at work that is bringing you stress. This is a common problem. In taking this stress to God, I would first thank God that I have a job, and in the opportunity I’ve been given, for Him to be glorified in some way by means of what I am doing. Then address God specifically about what you are anxious about. 
I personally have an aversion to being on TV. I don’t mind being interviewed in print, I just don’t like being on TV. Being on TV happens from time to time because of my job. I’ve been interviewed before about our festival, about Holy Week, and even once about a violent crime that was done against a member of the Greek community. That one even got on CNN! When I have to do that, I first thank God that I have a job (that resulted in the interview), and then I ask Him to calm my nerves, for me to give a good presentation of myself, and for Him to be glorified in some way. And then I leave it in His hands. 
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. When we have prepared, when we have prayed, and when we have left something in the hands of God, when we have placed my faith and trust in Him, then we receive a gift, the gift of the peace of God. This kind of peace surpasses our human understanding of peace. It is stronger peace than a negotiated peace treaty between two nations. It is stronger because it is a peace “negotiated” with God. We offer Him faith and trust, and He offers us peace. And this peace is what keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Because this kind of peace is what gives us purpose, focus and ultimately hope. 
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, does not guarantee earthly or material success each time out. What it does is give us confidence in the ultimate hope, salvation, regardless of how what we are anxious about turns out.
God knows what each of us needs. So ask Him, specifically, for what you need, and then trust that He will bless you in a way that keep you on track for salvation. It may not necessarily be what you think you want, but what He thinks is best for your journey. 
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name; worship the Lord in holy array. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, upon many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in His temple all cry “Glory!” The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthrones as king forever. May the Lord give strength to His people! May the Lord bless His people with peace! (Psalm 29, referred to as “The Voice of God in a Great Storm)
Put your trust in God today, and leave your anxiety with Him as well, through prayer.


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here: https://amzn.to/3nVPY5M


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder