Greetings in Jesus’ powerful and wonderful name!
This month I felt led to encourage you to permanently throw away worry, so that is what I want to talk to you about in my letter. But first, I want to say thank you for being a partner with our ministry. I know I thank you for this every month, but I simply cannot say it enough. Denise and I, our family, and our whole ministry team are so thankful for your support to help us fulfill the assignments God has given us. And with God’s grace and your partnership with us, we are seeing so many people reached with teaching they can trust!
Oh, how I wish you could hear the calls and read the emails and letters that are coming to us from people all over the world — precious people who are thrilled they have found a source of verse-by-verse teaching from the Word of God; unsaved people who are coming to Christ; spiritually hungry people who are being filled with the Spirit; or the thousands of displaced people that we are helping with relief. All of it — every outreach of this ministry — is vital, and we are able to do it because of the generous giving of our partners! And that is why I want to say THANK YOU again!
And please remember to pray for me. As you receive this letter, I am in the lower mountains of eastern Turkey filming at the alleged site of Noah’s Ark. I am here with my team, producing teaching for you that I believe will thrill your heart when you see it and hear it. Thank you for praying for me and my team and our safety while we are here!
Now let me share with you what’s on my heart for you today.
Have you ever had a moment when anxiety tried to creep up on you and seize your heart? I’m talking about those times when you are thrown into a state of panic about things that concern you — such as your family, your friendships, your business, or your finances. Very often this state of panic is caused by the mere thought of a problem that doesn’t even exist and is unlikely ever to come to pass — but just the idea of this problem troubles you deeply. Soon you find yourself sinking into such a strong state of worry and anxiety that it literally takes you hostage emotionally!
Some people are so controlled by worry that they pray fretful prayers instead of faith-filled prayers. Have you ever had one of those times? Praying fretful prayers doesn’t get you anything — it is non-productive praying. And God does not respond to fretfulness; He responds to faith.
For deeper insight on this subject, we have just released my newest book called My Peace-Filled Day. It is a 31-day guided journal with teaching about how to keep the peace of God ruling your heart instead of panic and worry. I really encourage you to get it for yourself or for someone else who needs to learn to live free of worry, and it’s available to order at renner.org.
In Philippians 4:6, we are told, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Do you see the word “careful” in this verse? It is the Greek word merimnao, which means to be troubled; to be anxious; to be fretful; or to be worried about something.
In New Testament times, this word was primarily used in connection with worry about finances, food to satisfy hunger, or some other basic provision needed for life. It pictures a person who is fretful about paying his bills; a person who is worried he won’t have the money to purchase food and clothes for his family’s needs or pay his house payment or rent on time; or a person who is anxious about his ability to cope with having the daily necessities of life.
This is the same word used in Matthew 6:25, when Jesus says, “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink.…” The word “thought” is also the Greek word merimnao. But in this particular verse, the Greek New Testament also contains the word me, which is a strong prohibition to stop something that is already in progress.
This means Jesus is speaking to worriers who are already filled with fret and anxiety. He is urging these people to stop worrying. The verse could be translated, “Stop worrying about your life.…” Then Jesus specifies that they are to stop worrying about “…what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink….” So again we see the word merimnao used to describe worry, fretfulness, and anxiety about obtaining the basic necessities of life.
We also find the word merimnao used in the parable of the sower and the seed. Matthew 13:22 says, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” The word “care” is the Greek word merimnao, and again, it is connected to material worries and concerns.
Jesus says such worry “chokes” the Word. The word “choke” is the Greek word sumpnigo, which means to suffocate; to smother; to asphyxiate; to choke; or to throttle. You see, worry is so all-consuming in an individual’s mind that it “chokes” him. It is a suffocating, smothering force that throttles his whole life to a standstill.
In Luke 21:34, Jesus gives a special warning to people who live in the last days. He says, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, so that day come upon you unawares.”
When Jesus mentions the “cares of this life,” the word “cares” is the same Greek word merimnao, but this time it is used in connection with the word “life,” which is the Greek word biotikos. This comes from the root word bios, the Greek word for life, and it is where we get the word “biology.” But when it becomes the word biotikos, it describes the things of life — pertaining primarily to the events, incidents, and episodes that occur in one’s life.
This phrase could be understood to mean that we should not allow ourselves to worry and fret about the events, incidents, or episodes that occur in life. This is a particularly fitting message for people who live in the last days and who are confronted by the troubling events, incidents, and episodes that occur during this difficult time.
So when Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing…,” that verse is pleading with us not to be worried about the basic needs and provisions required for life. Paul was also telling us not to let the events of life get to us and throw us into a state of anxiety or panic. To let us know how free of all worry we should be, Paul said we are to be “careful for nothing.” The word “nothing” is the Greek word meden, and it means absolutely nothing!
So this phrase in Philippians 4:6 could be translated: “Don’t be worried about anything — and that means nothing at all!”
Is there one particular thing Satan keeps using to strike your mind with worry? Can you think of a single time when worry and fretfulness ever helped make a situation better? Doesn’t worry serve only to keep you emotionally torn up and in a state of panic?
I urge you to put an end to worry today, once and for all. If you let worry start operating in you — even for a moment — it will try to become a habitual part of your thought life, turning you into a “worrier” who never knows a moment of peace.
Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father right now, interceding for you continually. Jesus understands every emotion, every frustration, and every temptation you could ever face (see Hebrews 2:18). So why not make a deliberate decision to turn over all your worries to Jesus today? Rather than try to manage those anxieties and needs all by yourself, go to Him and surrender everything into His loving, capable hands. Walk free of all those choking, paralyzing fears once and for all.
Jesus is waiting for you to cast all your cares upon Him because He really does care for you (see 1 Peter 5:7). Then once you throw your worries and concerns on Him, He will help you experience the joy and peace He has designed for you to enjoy in life all along!
I can vividly remember a time when I was very concerned about something that was about to occur. Although the challenge before me wasn’t so life-shattering, at the moment, it seemed huge and mountainous. I was extremely concerned.
I’m sure you know what it’s like when worry tries to flood your mind. It has a way of magnifying issues to the point of being ridiculous, but when you’re in the midst of the situation, it seems very real. Only after the event has passed do you realize how silly it was to be so worried about something that was so non-eventful.
But at the time I’m telling you about right now, I was consumed with worry. I paced back and forth, fretting, thinking, and pondering, making myself even more nervous by my anxious behavior. I was nothing but a bag of nerves. Realizing how deeply I was sinking into worry, I reached for my Bible to try to find peace for my troubled soul. I opened it to Philippians 4:6, which says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
I tried to push everything else out of my mind so I could concentrate on God’s words in this verse. Through Philippians 4:6, I could see that God was calling out to me and urging me to lay down my worries and come boldly before Him to make my requests known. As I focused on this verse, I suddenly saw something I had never seen before. I realized that this verse showed me step by step how to lay down my worries and boldly make my requests known to God. If I followed the steps laid out in this verse exactly as I understood them, I would be set free from worry and fear! I promptly followed these steps, and in a matter of minutes, my worry was replaced with a thankful, praising, and peaceful heart!
In moments when worry or fear is trying to wrap its life-draining tentacles around me, I rush back to the truths found in Philippians 4:6. Just as I followed the steps found in this verse so many years ago, I still carefully follow them whenever I start getting anxious. Every time I do, these steps lead me from worry and fear to a thankful, praising, and peaceful heart. In fact, I have learned that if I faithfully follow these steps, fear will always be eradicated and replaced with the wonderful, dominating peace of God.
So don’t let worry wrap its tentacles around you. Instead, listen to Paul’s advice about how to deal with the problems and concerns that try to assail your mind. Let’s look once again at what he says in Philippians 4:6: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
In this verse, Paul lays out five very important steps to move from fear to faith, from turmoil to peace, and from defeat to victory. We’ll look at five key words that tell us exactly what we must do when worry and concerns are trying to assail our minds: 1) prayer; 2) supplication; 3) thanksgiving; 4) requests; and 5) known.
The word “prayer” in this verse is the Greek word proseuche, which is the most commonly used word for prayer in the New Testament. This particular word and its various forms are used approximately 127 times in the New Testament. The word proseuche is a compound of the words pros and euche. The word pros is a preposition that means toward, which can denote a sense of closeness. Nearly everywhere it is used in the New Testament, the word pros carries the meaning of close, up-front, intimate contact with someone else.
The second part of the word proseuche is taken from the word euche. The word euche is an old Greek word that describes a wish, desire, prayer, or vow. It was originally used to depict a person who made some kind of vow to God because of a need or desire in his or her life. This individual would vow to give something of great value to God in exchange for a favorable answer to prayer. Thus, inherent in this word is the idea of an exchange — giving something to God in exchange for something wanted or desired.
So instead of carrying your worries and burdens, you are to take the first step Paul gives you to move from a place of turmoil to peace: Come close to the Lord in prayer. Once you are in that intimate, face-to-face place with God, take that opportunity to give Him your worries, fears, and concerns. Then ask the Lord to give you something back in exchange for the worries you have given Him — ask Him for peace! You see, this is a part of the great exchange found in the Greek word proseuche. When you give God your problems, in return, He gives you His peace.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this great exchange at some previous moment in your life. Can you think of a time when your mind was hassled with fears? Once you truly committed your problem to the Lord, did a supernatural peace flood your soul and relieve you from your anxieties? This is the first step that Paul urges you to take when worry, fear, and concerns are trying to take over your mind or emotions.
The second step Paul tells us to take is found in the word “supplication.” The word “supplication” in Greek is the word deisis, which depicts a person who has some type of lack in his life and therefore pleads strongly for his need to be met. The word deisis is translated several ways in the King James Version, including to beseech, to beg, or to earnestly appeal. This word pictures a person in such great need that he feels compelled to push his pride out of the way so he can boldly, earnestly, strongly, and passionately cry out for someone to help or assist him.
One of the most powerful examples of the word deisis is found in James 5:16. In this famous verse of Scripture, the Bible says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Here the word deisis is translated as “fervent prayer.” You see, deisis is a passionate, earnest, heartfelt, sincere prayer. It comes to God on the most serious terms, strongly beseeching Him to move and to meet a specific need that the person praying is facing in his life.
So when you are facing a problem that deeply concerns you, don’t be afraid to go to the Lord and earnestly beseech Him to meet your need. Paul’s use of this word means you can get very bold when you ask God to move on your behalf. There is no reason for you to be timid or mealy-mouthed when you pray. You can tell God exactly what you feel, what you’re facing, and what you want Him to do for you. This is what “supplication” is all about!
After mentioning “supplication,” Paul then gives us the third important step to take when giving our worries and concerns to the Lord. Paul tells us to make our requests known to God “…by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.…”
God not only expects you to be bold; He also expects you to thank Him for being good to you! It simply isn’t right to ask boldly without expressing thanksgiving. If you’ve ever generously given to someone who never took the time to thank you for the sacrifice you made for him or her, you know how shocking ingratitude can be. In a similar way, you must be careful to thank God for being so good to you!
The word “thanksgiving” that Paul uses in this verse is the Greek word eucharistia, which is a compound of the words eu and charis. The word eu means good or well. It denotes a general good disposition or an overwhelmingly good feeling about something. The word charis is the Greek word for grace. When these two words are compounded, they form the word eucharistia. This compound word describes an outpouring of grace and of wonderful feelings that freely flow from the heart in response to someone or something.
By using this word, Paul was teaching us that when we earnestly ask God to do something special for us, we must match it with an earnest outpouring of thanks. Although the request has only just been made and the manifestation isn’t evident yet, it is appropriate to thank God for doing what we have requested. Thanking Him in advance demonstrates faith.
So always make sure to follow up your earnest asking with earnest thanksgiving! Make it a goal to be just as passionate in your thanksgiving as you were when you made your request.
Paul then gives you the fourth step out of worry and anxiety when he tells you, “…Let your requests be made known unto God.” The word “requests” is the Greek word aitema, from the word aiteo. The Greek word “ask” destroys any religious suggestion that you are a lowly worm who has no right to come into the presence of God. You see, the Greek word aiteo means to be adamant in requesting and demanding assistance to meet tangible needs, such as food, shelter, money, and so forth.
In fact, in the New Testament, the word aiteo is used to portray a person who insists or demands that a specific need be met after approaching and speaking to his superior with respect and honor. Additionally, it expresses the idea that one possesses a full expectation to receive what was firmly requested.
There is no doubt that this word describes someone who prays authoritatively, in a sense demanding something from God. This person knows what he needs and is so filled with faith that he isn’t afraid to boldly come into God’s presence to ask and expect to receive what he has requested.
This means when you pray about a need that concerns you, it is right for you to pray authoritatively. As long as your prayer is based on the Word of God, you can have the assurance of God’s promise regarding the issue you are most concerned about. Furthermore, when you pray, it is spiritually appropriate for you to fully expect God to honor His Word and do what you have requested.
As a final, fifth point, Paul says, “…Let your requests be made known unto God.” The word “known” comes from the word gnoridzo, and it means to make a thing known; to declare something; to broadcast something; or to make something very evident. This plainly means that your asking can be extremely bold! Declare to God what you need; broadcast it so loudly that all of Heaven hears you when you pray. You can be exceptionally bold when you come before Jesus to make your requests known!
An expanded, interpretive translation of Philippians 4:6 could be rendered:
Don’t worry about anything — and that means nothing at all! Instead, come before God and give Him the things that concern you so He can in exchange give you what you need or desire. Be bold to strongly, passionately, and fervently make your request known to God, making certain that an equal measure of thanksgiving goes along with your strong asking. You have every right to ask boldly, so go ahead and insist that God meet your need. When you pray, be so bold that there is no doubt your prayer was heard. Broadcast it! Declare it! Pray boldly until you have the assurance that God has heard your request!
So in moments when worry or fear is trying to wrap its life-draining tentacles around you, obey the steps in Philippians 4:6. You don’t have to live subject to worry, concerns, and fears the rest of your life. If you follow these steps, worry and fear will always be replaced with a peaceful and praising heart!
I pray this has helped and encouraged you today. And if you are facing anything that has tried to steal your peace or fill you with fear or worry, we are ready right now to hear from you so we can pray with you and encourage you in the Word. Just call, email, or write to us, and we’ll immediately join you in prayer to come against whatever is concerning you. We’ll believe for peace that passes understanding to fill your heart and mind and for you to experience the answer from God that you are needing. We are praying for you anyway, so hearing from you will only help us to pray more effectively!
I know my letter is a little longer than usual today, but it was really on my heart to minister this message to you. Never forget that Jesus is there for you — and we are here for you. And we are ready to pray for you right now!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
Along with Paul, Philip, and Joel Renner and our ministry team