“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
By Mark Matzke, pastor
Defending heart and mind
“Do not be anxious 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 surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6–7)
Prayer is such a crucial element of our health and wellness. Phil. 4:6–7 holds a promise. Something follows upon our prayers. Your heart and mind is guarded in Christ.
A healthy mind is a praying mind; a healthy heart is a praying heart. The Spirit prays and intercedes on our behalf, at all times, no matter our dedication to prayer.
Maybe this is one reason Paul’s teaching is counterintuitive. He teaches us to put thanksgiving before the answer comes.
We learn from the time we are little children to make our request, wait for the answer, and then say “thank you” after the request is granted.
When we’re little kids, we often depend on some adult saying in kind of a stage whisper, “WHAT DO YOU SAY?” And you say, “Thank you.”
But here Paul says, when you pray, find things to thank God for before you ask Him anything. What a change this makes to our prayer life.
Prayer has a huge impact on our lives and hearts. There are more tremendous promises made in these verses.
Prayer is coupled with God’s transcendent peace. It covers you. It will guard your heart and mind in Jesus.
We can lay all our burdens down in thankfulness knowing He will take them up. We trust that He is true to His Word to do it. You trust Him to make the right decision. You can finally rest, because the pressure is off you.
A man named Joseph Scriven absolutely nailed it when he wrote these words:
“Oh, what peace we often forfeit;
Oh, what needless pain we bear —
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.”
(“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” — Lutheran Service Book, 770)
A healthy mind is a praying mind.
I heard somebody once talking about a house they bought. It was a lovely home and had all the amenities the family wanted.
But it seemed like no matter what they did, the basement was always damp. Even on hot, dry summer days, there was humidity down there you could sense.
They tried all kind of remedies and machines and gadgets, but finally they discovered that the house had been built over a natural spring.
Under the foundation of your life is a spring of living water that never runs out.
When you pray, you can’t help but remember that His promises are down there for you all the time.
As you pray in thankfulness, a settled peace will guard your heart and mind because your heart and mind are anchored in Christ.
Anxiety may come and go, but His peace transcends in the midst of it, like that ever-present spring of living water for our spiritual houses.
Praise be to Christ, who guards our hearts and minds.
Mark Matzke is senior pastor of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Chesterland, Ohio.
LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.