Don't Be Anxious, Instead Make Requests Known To God

That we do away with anxiety but instead through thanksgiving and prayer, make our request known to God was the truth that meant the most to Mr. Stockwell as he served his indeterminate jail time. By doing just this he was able to live a normal and peaceful life in prison, much to the surprise of his fellow prisoners.

Following excerpt from 12% into Meditations From A Prison Cell by F. Olin Stockwell
Never be anxious, but always make your requests known to God in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving; so shall God's peace, that surpasses all our dreams, keep guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6, 7

No words from the New Testament meant more to me during those months of imprisonment than these. I discovered them quite early. I took hold of them like a drowning man grasping at a piece of driftwood, and I held on. I found them wondrously true.

These words were written in prison, written by Paul while he was waiting in uncertainty, an uncertainty which was as galling as his chains. They were written out of a lifetime of experience, an experience of which he speaks only once in his letters. Then he wrote, "I have been often at the point of death; five times have I had forty lashes...three times I have been beaten by the Romans, once pelted with stones, three times shipwrecked, adrift at sea for a whole night and day; I have been often on my travels, I have been in danger from rivers and robbers, in danger from Jews and Gentiles, through dangers of town and of desert, through dangers of the sea, through dangers among false brothers—through labor and hardship, through many a sleepless night, through hunger and thirst, starving many a time, cold and ill-clad, and all the rest of it.” After these lines were written, Paul suffered another mobbing, a shipwreck, and at least three years of indeterminate waiting in jail. Out of it all he could write, "Never be anxious.” Such a bugle call to courage and faith meant much to me during my imprisonment.

But I found that I had to do exactly what Paul says. He says that we are to make our requests known to God with thanksgiving. Anxiety’s antitoxin is thanksgiving. By beginning with thanksgiving, we have some hope of defeating the enemy.

Thanksgiving puts our worries in their right perspective. Through thanking God for all that He has done for us in the past, we can know that He is in control. We can look back over the years, as can every other pilgrim of the Way, and remember the many times when God has brought victory out of defeat and courage out of despair... If such were true then, surely it can be true now. Our affairs are in His hands.

I kept trying to maintain this attitude over the first year. Later, I was transferred to the prison for counter-revolutionaries where I lived in a ten-foot square room with seven other prisoners, all of whom were Chinese. They had been given the task by the government of changing my mind and attitude. They railed away at me for ten or twelve hours day after day. When I woke up one morning, a prisoner asked, “How did you sleep last night?” My answer was, “I slept fine.” He said, “That’s queer. Every one of us who has come here could neither sleep nor eat for two or three weeks until we had confessed all our crimes and cleared our case with the government. We had too many worries and fears. But you are normal. You sleep and eat like a pig. There is something the matter with you.” I could not tell him that I left it in God’s hands, but that was true. If God could see me through fourteen months of solitary imprisonment, keeping me sane and happy, He could certainly see me through the rest of it. I gave God thanks for the past; He gave me courage for the present.

Meditations From A Prison Cell

Genre:Missionary biography
Subject:F. Olin Stockwell
Publisher:The Upper Room
Year:1954
Location:Nashville
Library:Physical collection at walkingtogether.life
Purchase:https://www.amazon.com/Meditations-Priso...

Scripture Testimony Index stories in this book

Faced with the choice to hold on to hate and continue to loathe does who by their false witness had him imprisoned, Mr. Stockwell chose the way of life; he chose forgiveness. He knew that to be forgiven he too needed to forgive! Great joy and peace, even behind bars, was his lot as he obeyed his Master.
That we do away with anxiety but instead through thanksgiving and prayer, make our request known to God was the truth that meant the most to Mr. Stockwell as he served his indeterminate jail time. By doing just this he was able to live a normal and peaceful life in prison, much to the surprise of his fellow prisoners.
On the mountain path where she lived, Mrs. Chiang was committed to being "the light of the world" as Jesus commanded. For there she ran a little creche where she took in, sheltered and nursed unwanted babies back to health, before finding suitable homes for them grow and have normal lives.