We never have to worry about anything if we pray about everything instead, the Bible declares in Philippians 4:6. That’s encouraging, but also challenging. Praying about “everything” can seem like way too much to manage with our limited time and energy. However, living out this guidance to pray about everything is not just possible; it’s actually enjoyable. Here’s the meaning of Philippians 4:6, why it’s important to pray about everything, and how to do so.
What Does Philippians 4:6 Mean When it Says, "Pray about Everything"?
Philippians 4:6 says: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Does that mean that we should say a prayer about everything in our lives? Thankfully, that’s not what it means, because we all have lots of other activities we must do besides praying. All of us have to eat, sleep, work, and a plethora of other tasks in our daily lives, just to survive. No human being can afford to do nothing but pray.
What “pray about everything” means in this verse is to develop a state of mind in which we are turning everything in our lives over to God. Even though we can’t practically verbalize prayers about everything in our lives, we can live in such a way that we’re aware of God’s constant presence with us and we’re trusting God to help us moment by moment.
Why Is it Important to Pray about Everything?
It’s important to pray about everything because from God’s perspective, every detail of our lives matters. Absolutely everything in our lives has the potential to help us learn and grow spiritually. Even situations that seem insignificant to us do have significance in God’s overall purpose for us. God pays attention to everything about us. Luke 12:7 reveals that “even the hairs of your head are all numbered” while Psalm 139:16 proclaims that “all the days ordained for me were written in your [God’s] book before one of them came to be.”
God cares about everything in our lives. So, we should also care about everything. When we do, we’ll see the wisdom of welcoming God into every aspect of our lives, because we can live the best lives possible in relationships with God.
How Do We "Pray about Everything"?
In my book Wake Up to Wonder, I describe a trip our family took to the National Radio Quiet Zone, which is a 13,000-square-mile area around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia. Noisy distractions went silent inside that zone, where our cell phones, and even our car’s radio, no longer worked. Observatory scientists intentionally blocked out noise that could interfere with them tuning into radio signals coming to Earth from space. They prioritized paying close attention to the signals that were most valuable for them to notice. As I explain in the book, God is always broadcasting in our direction, but we need to intentionally tune out distractions so we can tune into God’s messages to us. The way we do so is the same way we can learn to “pray about everything:” by purposefully and persistently directing our attention to God.
Haphazardly praying about situations in our lives, only we feel a sense of urgency, can result in a weak connection with God. If we’re not prioritizing our prayer communication, we may perceive only sporadic, unclear messages from God. However, if we “pray about everything” by intentionally keeping God in the forefront of our minds and actively listening for his messages, our connection will grow strong. Then we’ll be able to hear God’s voice regularly, speaking clearly over the noise of everything else in our lives.
God is always present with us. Deuteronomy 31:6 assures us, “… the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” God urges us in Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God lives within us, if we’re believers. As 1 Corinthians 3:16 says: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” By keeping God’s constant presence at the forefront of our minds, we can maintain a “pray about everything” state of mind.
An Ongoing Conversation with God
When we’re praying about everything, we’re centering every part of our lives on our relationship with God. We’re welcoming God into all of our experiences and seeking God’s guidance and intervention in every situation. We’re doing just what Philippians 4:6 encourages us to do – telling God what we need and thanking him for all he has done so far in our lives. The gratitude we express to God after asking for what we need helps remind us of how God has answered our prayers in the past, which builds our confidence to keep praying.
Our goal is to enjoy an ongoing conversation with God. That ongoing conversation is possible in any situation – even in the most challenging circumstances – because “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). We can follow the advice in Philippians 4:6 not to worry about anything, but instead to pray about everything, because of what the next verse assures us: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7). God promises that we will experience his peace as a result of choosing a “pray about everything” state of mind.
No topic is off-limits in prayer. God wants us to express our thoughts and feelings about everything that matters to us. No detail we pray about is insignificant. Everything that we care about, God cares about, since God cares so deeply for us. Absolutely nothing is too hard for God to handle, since Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:26 that “… with God all things are possible.” We can pray about everything and trust that God will answer by working it all out for the best.
Day by day, praying about everything simply involves turning our attention to God regularly. We can schedule check-in times with God at regular intervals throughout each day, such as after waking up, mid-morning, at lunch, mid-afternoon, at dinner, and at bedtime. But we don’t need to wait for any planned prayer times to communicate with God. We can connect with God anytime and anywhere, simply by reminding ourselves that God is with us and reaching out to God with love. We can do it verbally or silently and in quiet times or busy times. If we do our best to be fully present in each moment and focus our attention on God, we’re in a praying about everything state of mind. As we acknowledge and connect with God’s presence with us, we welcome God’s power to go to work in every situation we face.
Praying about everything means enjoying an ongoing conversation between God and us. Participating in that conversation will regularly lead us to life-changing encounters with God’s wonder.
Praying about everything isn’t an activity. It’s a way of life. When we pray about everything, we don’t have to work our way through an overwhelming to-do list. Instead, we simply choose to trust God in every moment of our lives. The wonder we’ll experience along the way shows that God is devoted to us – and that can inspire us to continue to “pray about everything.”
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/kieferpix
Whitney Hopler is the author of the Wake Up to Wonder book and the Wake Up to Wonder blog, which help people thrive through experiencing awe. She leads the communications work at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. Whitney has served as a writer, editor, and website developer for leading media organizations, including Crosswalk.com, The Salvation Army USA’s national publications, and Dotdash.com (where she produced a popular channel on angels and miracles). She has also written the young adult novel Dream Factory. Connect with Whitney on Twitter.