Scripture’s cure for the worry epidemic
Do you struggle with worry or anxious thoughts on a regular basis? Does your mind get fixated on the same concern over and over? Do you know you should stop worrying but repeatedly fail to do so?
How to Overcome Worry presents a biblical and practical strategy for this exact problem. Dr. Winfred Neely, who has experienced his fair share of anxiety-inducing circumstances, walks you through Philippians 4:6–7 to help you:
- Understand the difference between concern and worry
- Use prayer as a means of grace to overcome worry
- Cultivate gratitude and thanksgiving as an antidote to worry
- Navigate changing seasons and circumstances without falling into worry
- Employ practical strategies for experiencing the peace of God
Worry is one of the top issues in our world today, even among Christians, and this concise and biblical approach will offer real solutions. In His Word, God tells us to stop worrying, pray about everything, and expect His peace. This is a true promise of Scripture, and this book will help you to lay hold of it.
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About the Author
WINFRED NEELY (B.A., D.Min. Trinity International University; M.A. Wheaton) is currently working towards an advanced research degree in Old Testament at the University of Bristol, England. He is an ordained minister of the Gospel and a full time professor of hermeneutics, homiletics, and pastoral studies at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Prior to joining the faculty at Moody, Winfred served churches in the City of Chicago and is currently interim pastor of the Judson Baptist Church in Oak Park, IL. He brings to his ministry a global perspective, having served as a missionary/pastor in Senegal, West Africa for nine years. He is also involved in a global equipping ministry, speaking and conducting workshops and training events at churches and conferences in the US and abroad. He and his wife Stephne have been married for forty years and have four adult children and nine grandchildren. He takes acting classes from time to time and is an ardent fan of science fiction films such as Star Wars and Star Trek.
Table of Contents
1 The Troubled Waters of Worry 9
2 A Bold Imperative 23
3 The Antidote to Worry 35
4 A Precious Promise for Hard-Pressed People 61
5 Walking in Freedom from Worry 77
Appendix A A Pattern for Prayer 89
Appendix B Scriptures to Aid in Your Battle against Worry 95
Appendix C Questions for Individual Reflection or Group Discussion 105
What People are Saying About This
In a world filled with so much stress, fear, violence, and uncertainty—is it really possible to be “anxious for nothing”? Dr. Neely tackles head-on why these words aren’t meant for someone else or another “more peaceful” time. He shows through great stories and biblical insights how God’s Word is exactly what you and I need to face up to worry and fear—today—and how you can even put an unshakable foundation under your life-story, even in a world that’s shaking apart. It’s quick to read, filled with hope and “I get that” examples. You need this book, like I did, to move fear for all that “could happen” to our children and country and world back into God’s hands and put peace back into our hearts, today.
John Trent, PhD
Gary D. Chapman Chair of Marriage and Family Ministry and Therapy, Moody Theological Seminary
Worry is a relentless adversary. Thank you Winfred Neely for giving us sage, transferable wisdom in overcoming worry. This book is a treasure. It is practical, engaging, and, most important, it is anchored in the truth of God’s Word.
Dr. Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.
Author, Speaker, Radio Host
Senior Pastor Fellowship Bible Church
Worry is endemic. Yes, we do have a lot of things to worry about in our world today. Neely, in his inimitable pastoral style, puts our hearts to rest as he points us to our God, our fortress, our solid rock. This work is biblically sound, theologically astute, practically helpful, and spiritually warm. Don’t worry . . . read Neely!
Abraham Kuruvilla, ThM, MD, PhD
Research Professor of Pastoral Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary
Worry is like a flea on the back of a dog—it’s not welcome but it attaches itself to any willing carrier. We are all well practiced in worry. We are not well rehearsed in overcoming worry. Neely’s book provides the biblical information and practical advice to experience the peace of God in these trying times. I commend it to you. Start reading and stop worrying.
J. Paul Nyquist, PhD
President of Moody Bible Institute
This book focuses on one of the most important biblical passages that deal with worry. Winfred Neely provides solid biblical insight, practical wisdom, and pastoral sensitivity as he explores and applies how believers can wrestle with and win over worry.
Scott M. Gibson, DPhil
Haddon W. Robinson Professor of Preaching and Ministry, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
HOW TO OVERCOME WORRY Experiencing The Peace Of God In Every Situation By Dr. Winfred Neely Worry is something we all do, no matter if its about our home, family or job, we will worry about it. In this book Dr. Neely has offered some Biblical and practical instruction on how to overcome that worrying. His book is small but is packed with a lot of help and information that is needed for us to overcome worrying. The book is divided into five sections titled: The troubled waters of worry, A bold imperative, The antidote to worry, A precious promise for hard-pressed people and Walking in freedom from worry. Each section offer insight into working through each area, he uses scripture verses to help in each section. He also, offers some short stories that are a great help. The book has three appendixes to help you in understanding the information. They include an appendix for a pattern of prayer, one with scriptures to aid in your battle against worry and the third is questions for you to think about. Dr. Neely takes the subject of worry and how to deal with it to a better understanding than any other book that I have read on the subject. It was done in a way that was very easy reading and easy to understand. He done this without over burdening us with unnecessary words. You will get a new strategy for experiencing God’s peace. The book would be great to use in discussion groups or on your own. A great way to learn to stop worrying and to learn to trust God. I received this book free from Moody Press Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.] In many ways, this book requires a great deal of proper framing of one's expectations. At around 100 pages even when one includes its appendices, and those pages are very small ones as this book could almost fit inside of one of my pockets, this is not a book that offers a thorough treatment of worry and anxiety. The author treats these as synonymous terms, and he also comments that he does not wish to treat clinical anxiety that is the result of trauma , but rather the sort of worry that people have as a result of a lack of faith. And that is a thoughtful place for this book to rest, in that it encourages believers to develop a faith in God that gives one peace while not attacking those whose anxiety is the result not of a lack of faith but as a result of traumatic experiences in a fallen world full of broken people. Even to such people who read this book carefully, the author's perspective allows him to avoid blaming while also encouraging others to build their faith. The author deals with the subject of worry in five chapters. The first chapter examines the troubled waters of worry, and includes what it is that people worry about and how worry is often related to the dynamic between our concern about people and their lack of concern for us. After that the author discusses the bold biblical imperative not to worry, and then spends a chapter discussing the antidote to worry in prayer and cultivating faith and trust in God. The author then spends some time talking about the precious promise for hard-pressed people that He will give us peace, and not expect us to create that peace for ourselves. The fifth and final chapter of the book deals with how we walk in freedom from worry, again, with a focus on prayer and faith and trust in God. After this main section of the book there are three appendices, the first showing a pattern for prayer, the second a list of scriptures to memorize and call to mind to aid in the battle against worry, and the third one a set of questions for individual reflection and group study. How is one to view this book? Is it a helpful one? I think it can be, although its helpfulness is limited to those who have a belief in the scriptures as a guide to one's life as well as the model of behavior that we seek to attain and who are willing to trust God to work within us the sort of patience and faith and confidence that is necessary to live without worry and in His perfect peace. The author is wise to note that this cannot be done through our own efforts, and is also wise and compassionate to note that some people struggle with anxiety at a deeper level than others because of the experience of deep suffering and evil. It is unclear why the author does not wish to talk about this at a deeper level, but the fact that he acknowledges it is a noteworthy accomplishment and a way that the book serves as an encouraging guide to overcome worry rather than a bludgeon against those whose anxiety springs from trauma rather than from an absence of faith, given that not everyone who deals with the subject is thoughtful in distinguishing between these two things.  See, for example: https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/01/14/book-review-the-age-of-anxiety/ https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/09/book-review-coping-with-anxiety/ https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/07/08/book-review-anxiety-and-av
A Great simple book to help with worry! Dr. Neely has written an excellent book that relies on a biblical foundation and methodology for overcoming worry. Perhaps the best part of the book is that Dr. Neely is willing to acknowledge that which many of us are not - Anxiety is a Choice! Never accusatory, Dr. Neely understands that we live in a world that is worry-driven. We live with menacing threats like terrorism, economic uncertainty, racial unrest, a breakdown of trust between law enforcement and the citizenry, gun violence, mass shootings, and more. However, Neely explains that we need to remember that we are to be in an intimate relationship with God and that when we are, habitual worry will vanish. Neely provides a sure-fire way to maintain this intimacy. Do you know what it is? Prayer, of course! Neely defines and explains some components of prayer: Supplication, Thanksgiving, and Requests. He also gets very practical and provides his thoughts on biblical meditation, how to increase your prayer time, and Scripture to help along the way. This short book is equal parts powerful and practical. I highly recommend How to Overcome Worry by Dr. Winfred Neely. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
This is a GREAT book for those who struggle with fear, anxiety, and/or worry. The author describes the difference between concern and worry so we can understand and acknowledge both feelings. He also explains how to overcome worry through prayer and use gratitude as an antidote to help the reader through the process. I truly enjoyed reading this book and I was able to use some of the strategies I learned to stop overthinking and relax while God does his work. If you know someone who is going through difficult times this is the perfect gift.
Don’t let the size of How to Overcome Worry fool you! Despite the book’s short length, Dr. Winfred Neely packs some powerful challenges into the pages. He incorporates personal examples into the text, but How to Overcome Worry is not merely 88 pages of story-telling. How to Overcome Worry attracted me due to my own experiences with anxiety and depression. Throughout the book, Neely acknowledges the role of physiological components that contribute to anxiety. However, he places a strong emphasis on the spiritual components of the battle against anxiety. It is this component that is often overlooked, even amongst believers. Neely’s argument is built upon a study of anxiety in Scripture and he delineates between healthy and unhealthy examples of being anxious. I appreciated the challenges in How to Overcome Worry; challenges that are often not explored in other books on worry and anxiety. Finally, if readers choose to use How to Overcome Worry in a small group, Neely includes appendices with prayers, scriptures, and reflection questions. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to write an honest, unbiased review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Anxiety. Does the word make you anxious by just reading it? As a mental health therapist, I deal with client anxiety on a daily basis. Heck, most days I am dealing with my own worries, too! Daily I see the ways that anxiety permeates every aspect of peoples’ lives to the point where it debilitates. As Dr. Neely states, “Each season of life brings its own unique roller coaster of anxiety. This will be our reality until we walk through the doors of glory.” Anxiety is something that will be part of our human existence until we get to heaven. Though this may be the case, it does not mean we have to be controlled by it! One of the verses I memorized in college when I was going through a really anxious-filled time in my life was Philippians 4:6-7. It says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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” (NLT). If you have ever experienced anxiety or a panic attack, you know how much you desire peace in that moment. Could you imagine having a peace that exceeds all understanding? That is what can happen when we pray in those anxious moments! Dr. Winfred Neely wrote How to Overcome Worry: Experiencing the Peace of God in Every Situation to assist us in truly living out Philippians 4:6-7. As this verse says, Dr. Neely points out that “Prayer in everything is the antidote to worrying about anything.” He writes about how we need to have a healthy level of concern in our lives, but that worrying has no place in our lives. In order to truly eliminate worry, we must meditate on his Word and pray. Period. “Peace is the result of trust,” as Dr. Neely writes. Are you truly trusting God with everything you are worried about today? Are you surrendering in prayer to our God who can provide us with a peace that transcends all understanding? Do not worry about anything, sweet friends. Hope this verse transforms you as it did me many years ago. Want to truly dive into Philippians 4:6-7? How to Overcome Worry is a short, easy read, but is jam-packed with truth and scripture. You can find it on Amazon here. Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but I was provided a free book through the MP Newsroom program in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
I am a worrier… I learned it from my mom and it something I have a hard time overcoming. Growing up there was always something she was worrying about whether it be money or if the car was going to run properly to get us from point A to point B. Not that I had a bad childhood, because I didnt, we had our fair share of problems but otherwise a fantastic childhood. But the one thing she passed on to me in those young days was the art of worrying. I know it is pointless to worry about something that may never happen or things that have happened in the past, but it happens more than I’d care to admit. I let those emotions boil up inside of me until I end up with an anxiety attack. Not pretty and not fun for me or for anyone in my family lol. My husband tries again and again to remind me that it is not worth worrying about and I always have to disagree. If you are like me and worry about needless things then this is the book for you. It is a wonderful guide to help you overcome those worries and to help you to give it up to God, ultimately He is the one in charge :). It is one of those books that I will keep for myself to read time and time again. Filled with scripture and insight into the world of worriers, it has helped to remind me to put aside the worries and just live life to the fullest. This book supplies you with the tools necessary to help you to overcome your worries, it includes different ways to pray, scriptures to comfort you in need and “scriptures to aid in your battle against worry.” An amazing book that I would recommend to everyone! AND it’s a short read! Make sure you grab a highlighter before getting started, there is lots of good stuff to remember!!!! If you want to check this book out links are below of places to purchase!! Happy reading and Good Luck in whatever journey you might be facing!
Good Things Come in Small Packages! Do you live a life of ease with everything falling into place perfectly, or do you have things in life that don’t always work out the way you hoped, causing upset and worry? If your answer is the latter, this is the book for you. The author believes we live in a time period full of worries that modern life is plagued by worries that range from ISIS attacks to staying safe while out shopping. The pressures of life today are great indeed. Dr. Neely suggests the way we get rid of worry is by not giving in to it, but instead we must turn to God. Additionally, when speaking to Him, include something you are thankful for. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” --Philippians 4:6-7The Message (MSG) By faith we need to turn our heart, mind and will to God, trusting that He will rid us of anxiety, if we truly give it to Him. Anxiety creeps in when we take our eyes off of God and try to shoulder our burdens ourselves. We must literally take our burdens to God and leave them with Him to escape anxiety. Dr. Neely also urges us to pray--pray about everything--that is the way to conquer worry. “…. pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” --1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 English Standard Version (ESV) This is a small book that is very easy to read, and is packed with good recommendations to combat worrying. It is truly a treasure trove of golden pieces of advice that have stood the test of time for helping and is easy to understand. Dr. Neely has written something that will touch the heart of anyone who has ever had a worry in their life. I highly recommend this 5-star book. “ Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? ….Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” --Matthew 6:26-29 New King James Version (NKJV) Moody Publishers has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of How to Overcome Worry, for the purpose of review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
It has been said that "imagination" is the 21st-century equivalent to the scriptural word "heart," the center of emotion and intellect in biblical physiology. That may well be true, for many times it is my imagination that causes me to run aground in this following life. As if there were not enough stressful events going on in the world around me, I waste my time pushing past the present and into "what if" territory. Dr. Winfred Neely, with the help of the Apostle Paul, offers words for the worry epidemic that plagues our anxious world. Ironically, for those who believingly follow Jesus Christ, worry goes beyond the vexing footfalls of a sleep thief, and stomps into the room as a perplexing theological ogre, for if I believe in the sovereignty of God, the burning question is: Can God be counted on to protect me and the people I love from harm? Obviously bad things happen to good people on this broken ground, and we wonder How to Overcome Worry when so often the ways of God are "shrouded in mystery." "Anxiety can reside in virtually every nook and cranny of human experience," and yet the Apostle's directive in Philippians 4 is clear: 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Paul had every reason to worry. He was writing from prison, and the Roman Empire was in the grip of the sadistic (and probably insane) Emperor Nero -- an unlikely source of justice. Did Paul have the ability to simply turn his worries off like a faucet? Was he living on an ethereal, apostolic plane, completely indifferent to his surroundings? Dr. Neely defines Paul's use of the word "anxious" as "concern turned inward and deformed, divorced from the grace of God and rooted in unhealthy fear." He offers the encouraging insight that it is possible to be deeply engaged with the people and events of our lives and yet to be free from the vice of habitual worry. If you struggle with worrying, you will also benefit (as I have) from these practical principles for experiencing the peace of God: *** It goes without saying (nonetheless, I will say it) that clinical anxiety is a medical condition and if you suffer from this affliction, the advice offered in this book will not be relevant to that specific situation. Dr. Neely is concerned with "anxiety as worry rooted in unbelief." *** "God is commanding us to look to Him instead of turning from Him. Armed with the truth that anxiety is a choice, we conquer worry by taking everything to the Lord in prayer. If Paul's insistence that prayer is the antidote to worry seems like thin gruel and weak coffee to me, then I must examine my understanding and experience of prayer and the presence of God. This 1961 quote from A.W. Tozer is true of my 2017 heart: "Where sacred writers saw God, we see laws of nature. Their world was fully populated; ours is all but empty. Their world was alive and personal; ours is impersonal and dead. God ruled their world; ours is ruled by the laws of nature, and we are always once removed from the presence of God." "Paul uses different terms for the different aspects of conversing with God." The words "supplication," "thanksgiving," and "requests" reveal facets of prayer that get at our neediness, the recognition that God has worked and . . . finish reading at Living Our Days.
Excellent resource. I come from a long line of worry warts and this book has so many wonderful nuggets here to help a worrier overcome this destructible force. Worry is not of God and is, in fact, sin. Dr. Neely is spot on with the advice here, all scriptural. I plan on referring to this many times. *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, and my opinions are my own.