A lot of worry and fear are currently happening in our world. This fear can shift your focus away from Christ and His love for you. In uncertain times, it can be difficult to understand that God has a certain plan for the world. The following passage from Martin Luther’s Church Postils I is a great reminder to cast all your worries and fears on Jesus because He will always provide for those who believe.
The Lord is near. [Phil. 4:5]
If there were no God, then you would rightly have to fear the wicked people. But now there not only is a God, but He also is near. He will not forget you nor leave you alone. You are only to be gentle to all people, and let Him worry about how He will nourish and protect you. If He has given you Christ, the eternal treasure, how would He not also give you what is necessary for your belly? … You already have more than all the world’s treasure because you have Christ. … Peter writes: “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5 [:7]). … That is all as much as to say, “The Lord is at hand.” Now follows:
Do not worry about anything [Phil. 4:6]
Do not worry for yourselves, but let Him worry. He whom you now acknowledge can worry about you and care for you. The heathen who do not know that they have a God worry, as Christ also says: “Do not worry for your soul, about what you should eat or drink, nor for your body, about what you should wear. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father know that you need them” (Matthew 6 [:31–32]). Therefore, let the whole world take from you and wrong you; you will have enough and not die of hunger or cold unless they take away your God, who cares for you. But who will take Him away from you, unless you abandon Him?
Therefore, we have no reason to worry, because our Father and overseer has all things in His hands. … We are always to be joyful in Him and gentle toward all people, as those who are certain of having enough for body and soul and above all having a gracious God. … Our worry should be that we do not worry, but only be joyful in God and gentle towards people. The psalmist says: “The Lord cares for me” (Psalm 40 [:17]).
But in everything let your requests in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving be made known to God. [Phil. 4:6]
Here Paul teaches us to cast our worries on God. The meaning is: Do not at all worry. If something should happen to make you worry … then act this way: Do not at all attempt to deal with your worry, whatever it may be, but leave the worry behind, turn with prayer and supplication to God. … Do that with gratitude that you have a God who cares for you and to whom you may boldly refer all your concerns.
But whoever does not act that way when something happens, but first wants to estimate it with his reason and manage it with his own ideas, and thus handle his own worries, meddles with much misery, loses his joy and peace in God, accomplishes nothing at all, but only digs in the sand and sinks further and cannot get out.
This is said so that no one will decide to abandon all things and place them on God in such as way that he does nothing else, is completely lazy, and does not even pray about them, for he will soon be overturned and fall into worries. … It is not in vain that the apostle sets against each other “Do not worry about anything” and “In everything flee to God” [Phil. 4:6]. “Nothing” and “everything” are against each other, by which he sufficiently shows that there are many things to drive us to worry, but in all of them we are to worry about nothing, but rather pray, entrust them to God, and ask for what we lack.
Here we must now see how to form our prayers and what is a good way to pray. He lists four kinds of prayer: prayer, supplication, thanksgiving, and request. “Prayer” is nothing other than the words or talk, such as the Lord’s Prayer, the psalms, and the like, in which sometimes something [more] is said than what we are asking about.
“Supplication” is when prayer is urged and strengthened by something else, such as when I ask someone for something for the sake of his father or something else he loves or cherishes.
“Request” is naming what troubles us, what we desire in prayer and supplication.
“Thanksgiving” is when we list the benefits received, and thus strengthen our confidence to wait for what we request.
Thus prayer becomes strong, forces its way through supplication, becomes sweet and agreeable through thanksgiving, and thus together with strength and sweetness it overcomes and receives what it requests.
This excerpt is adapted from Luther’s Works: American Edition, vol. 75 © 2013 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Footnotes have been omitted.
To read more of Luther's sermons on a variety of topics, order Church Postils I below.