“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7
The significance and impact that rituals have on our daily lives is getting a lot of attention in our culture. We are starting to put into practice things that were second nature in ancient times but have faded in “modern” western culture. More then ever we should recapture the practice of rituals in this fast paced and overbooked culture.
The research on rituals has revealed that it supplies a sense of control. Control is something that we all desire. Sometimes we don’t know we care so much about being in control until we suddenly don’t have it. That is when fear, stress, and anxiety creep into our hearts. We often behave poorly when we feel like we are losing control over our work, families, schedules, health, and even church. The truth is we don’t have as much control over those things as we wish.
There is good news though! By creating rituals in our life, we can find a sense of peace and control. Studies show that when we have rituals we find a sense of control and the lack of control elsewhere becomes much easier to handle. There is even better news! In Philippians 4:6-7 we are promised that God will grant us peace and guard our hearts and minds in Christ. The passage calls us to, “in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”. What if we were to combine the practice of rituals with the practice of presenting our requests to God with prayer and thanksgiving?
What would it look like if you set up a ritual for yourself everyday that involved praying, thankfulness, and receiving peace? Build a time of prayer and reading the Bible into your day, even if it is just five minutes. For myself, I wake up and the first thing I must do is walk my dog. I found a wonderful application on my phone which plays a worship song, reads a short passage of scripture, and had a short message all in about 10 minutes. I listen to it every morning while walking my dog as part of my daily ritual. It has helped me start the day praying to, singing for, and thanking God. It has helped me feel like I have a little control in my life, while at the same time taking away the anxiety of giving that control up to God.
I encourage all of you to find that small window of time where you can set up a ritual of prayer and thanksgiving for yourself. A ritual where you can feel a sense of control and peace and then to be thankful for that gift because it comes from your loving Father God.
Here is the link to the phone app I use.