This reflection on Philippians 4:6-9 encourages youth to consider how trusting in God can alleviate fear and help us to live in freedom.
Have everyone get comfortable. Start with some warm up questions. Explain that we are going to talk about anxiety and fear. When sharing, it is OK to share big fears or smaller fears. And this is a safe space to talk about the things we are anxious about.
- What were your biggest fears this week?
- What are some things you are anxious about in general?
- How do you usually deal with your fears?
Now read Philippians 4:6-9:
Brothers and sisters: Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:6-9
This reading mentions prayer and petition, which seem like a good way to bring our worries to God. But it also says “with thanksgiving”. (Reread the passage if necessary.)
- Why is thanksgiving important when we are speaking to God about our fears?
- What is the impact of remembering the good things in our lives?
- Can gratitude also bring a sense of calm?
An interesting thing about gratitude is that it helps us remember how God cares for us. Remembering our blessings does not make our problems go away. But it can help remind us that God cares for us every day. And even though things might not turn out exactly the way we want, we can have hope that everything will be OK in the end.
This week, when you are feeling anxious about something, take a few moments to thing of three things (big or small) that you are grateful for. And be specific. These could be things like a conversation with a friend, a really good cookie at lunch, a compliment somebody gave you, a beautiful sunset, etc. If you can, find a quiet spot and really revisit these moments in your imagination. Then pray about your fears, remembering that God provides so many good things in our lives.