My great-grandfather used to sing this old hymn called “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Even into his late eighties, not long before he passed, he would rest his guitar on his lap and start with the questions and answers. “Have we trials and temptations?” Take it to the Lord in prayer. “Are we weak and heavy-laden?” Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In those last couple of years he would forget some lines, and others he would repeat, but he still managed to get that one phrase right, Take it to the Lord in prayer. That was the answer to every question, whatever the question, and he always said it the clearest — which might be the reason I hear him singing it every time I read Philippians 4:6.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Whatever it is that might cause us anxiety — trials, temptations, weakness, burdens, pain, discouragement — whatever cumbers us “with a load of care,” the apostle Paul says to bring it to God. Just let him know. In everything. Whatever it is. Tell him.
And that means that the first question to ask ourselves as we feel the weight of worry, whatever it might be, is whether we have prayed about it. Have we told Jesus our hearts? Have we acknowledged the one who stands by us? Have we asked for his help? “Oh, what peace we often forfeit! Oh, what needless pain we bear!” Forfeited peace and needless pain because we haven’t prayed. We’ve bottled up the issue. We’ve tried to take things into our own hands.
Paul said, and great-granddaddy Ennis sang, take it to the Lord in prayer.
And take it to him because, as Paul says just a few verses later, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
In other words, whatever that is that we lack, God has that for us in Jesus. He has an infinite supply of grace tailored for our needs. For you. For me. He is there with it, waiting, right now. We carry the burden of our weaknesses. We feel the gap of our lack. And Jesus, who knows it all, the embodiment of God’s immeasurable mercy, is ready to step in as the bridge. Tell him.