Do not worry 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. – Philippians 4:6-7 (NRSV)
We were miles from the nearest town. With the low-fuel warning light on in my car and two mountains to cross, I prayed, “Our cell phones don’t work out here, and we’re two young women who don’t want to walk these roads in the dark. Please help us arrive safely.” After I prayed, I continued to worry until we reached our destination safely.
Later, when I read about Hannah’s prayer, I thought about our trip and my prayer. Her prayer showed me that I had missed out on one of the benefits of praying. Hannah had made her request to God, and “then . . . went on her way, ate some food, and wasn’t sad any longer” (CEB). Hannah released her anxiety to God and found peace even before God answered her. In contrast, I didn’t fully release my worry until after God had answered my prayer and we had arrived safely at the next town. Rather than thanking God for hearing my prayer and trusting that an answer would come, I continued to worry until I’d seen the outcome.
Hannah’s story taught me that one of the great gifts of prayer is knowing that God will answer, even if we don’t know when or how. When we pray, we can immediately thank God for the answer that will come. Doing so can allow us to let go of our concerns and begin to accept the peace God offers us.