Going Beyond the “Worry Prayers”

Last week, we looked at a strategy for battling worry, and I feel like there’s so much more to say on this topic. Worry is one of those daily struggles and the worst thing about it, is worry robs us of a desire to glorify God. Worry wears down our faith and tempts us to view life through a limited and dark grid.

When worry drives our thinking, then we’ll be running ahead of God’s grace for the situation, and lifting up “worry prayers” to the throne rather than faith-driven prayers surrounded by worship.

I hope you’ll pull out your Bible as we walk through a portion of Scripture that applies to this problem of “worry prayers.” And if you missed the post on “Fearing the Next Terror Attack” I hope you’ll jump back to read it before diving in to this one.

Worry prayers are fearful mutterings and anxiety-filled expressions—based on unknowns and “what ifs” or sometimes they can be rooted in actual circumstances.    

Worry prayers that honestly lay out your desperation, getting real with God about where your heart is, can be a good thing. But don’t let your prayers end there. Move your heart beyond worry and take it to a place of worship.

Watch how this works in Psalm 77:

[box]In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; In the night my hand was stretched out . . . My soul refused to be comforted . . . I am so troubled that I cannot speak . . . Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?

Has His lovingkindness ceased forever . . .

Has God forgotten to be gracious? (Psalm 77:2–9)[/box]

The Psalmist is voicing what he feels, he feels abandoned and gets real when he asks: “God, don’t you care?”  

Now, your attitude may not be that depressing and hopeless, but can you relate to being in a very dark place and feeling a bit forsaken when you see no visible changes in a situation you’ve prayed over for years? I think we all can.

But I’m thankful the Psalm doesn’t end there. Look at the example we have in turning the corner on worry prayers starting in verse 11:

[box]I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work and muse on all Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders . . .[/box]

When we take our eyes off all we’re not seeing God do, and begin thanking Him and stating His goodness for all we have seen Him do–our perspective transforms from worry . . . to praise, gratitude, and yes, worship. I keep a running list of things I’m thankful for in my prayer journal as a protection for my heart when life’s dark clouds move in, heavy with worry.

Don’t misunderstand, it’s good to pour out the yuckyness to God, let Him know your fears and honestly cry out with your pain, but don’t let worry shape your prayer life.

Let God know how your situation is about to take you under . . . and then state some simple “thank you” sentences. They don’t have to be loud, long, or elaborate. You can even let Him know that you don’t feel like thanking Him right now—but that you’re going to thank Him because He’s worthy of that, not because of how you feel at the moment.

Today, can you begin listing a few of God’s wonders, things you can thank Him for as you lift up your prayers? Let’s go beyond the “worry prayers” and get to the place of worship.

Join me in this:

[box]I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.

I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High (Psalm 9:1-2).[/box]

Can you share some things you are grateful for today (even if you feel a cyclone is hitting!)?

I’ll start by saying: I am grateful for each of you!

Image courtesy of Castillo Dominici


  • Becky Arnold

    I am so thankful for the written Word that soothes my troubled soul and is a lamp to my feet when I’m worried and afraid. It is wisdom and direction. It is my lifeline to God Himself and it leads me to the Rock that is higher and the refuge that is stronger than anything else I might try to run to for help.

    Thanks for this series, Kim! SO helpful!

  • Kathryn

    Thank you Kim for these ongoing posts on worry. I am forwarding these posts to family and friends who are struggling. They are receiving encouragement as you point our hearts and minds back to God’s word. Thank God for His word and His grace that is available to all of us. I am reminded to give thanks IN ALL THINGS. God bless.

  • Rache'l Campbell

    Thank you Kim! I think “worry” is such a battle for women, especially mothers ( and grandmothers). We can teach our children all about a Mighty, All Powerful and Loving God and yet live as though He no longer exists.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Me, too, Becky! So grateful for the peace and truth the Word provides. When a flood of fear hits, soaking in the Psalms is the perfect solution 🙂

    Thank you for your kind encouragement!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    You are welcome, Kathryn, thank you for your encouragement. So glad you are sharing these and others are finding them helpful!

  • Lauren DuPrez

    I’m thankful that He promises to give us everything we need according to His glory in riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) and that since He has already given us His Son, he will also graciously give us all things (Romans 8:31-21). Thanks for faithfully proclaiming truth Kim. This post was especially encouraging to my heart as my husband and I are experiencing a time of financial hardship. What a good reminder to take my eyes off of my circumstances and fix them on Jesus and His faithfulness.

  • Julie Musil

    Kimberly, I’m definitely battling worry right now. I’m in a war, but I must remember who my real enemy is. I heard once that worrying is like telling God I don’t trust Him. So I make sure to praise Him first, then do a little worry praying. Hey, I’m human!

    I’m so thankful for good health, wonderful sons, provision, friends, family, life group, and so much more!!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Julie ~

    We all battle worry–the point is to stay in the battle! And remember, it’s good to pour out the yuckyness to God, let Him know your fears and honestly cry out with your pain, let Him know your worries, but also let Him know that you know He’s able to do more than we can think or ask (Eph. 3:20–21)

    Thanks for sharing, friend 🙂

  • Vivian Etherington

    I am grateful for the many blessings God pours out through the Body of Christ! So thankful for sisters in Christ who will pray with me, speak truth to me, listen to me– be the hands and feet of Christ to me! You Kim and my friend Becky who commented up there are two of the people God has blessed my life with in these way! Thank you again for this blog!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    You are welcome, Viv! Love having an encouraging friend like you. Was great to see Mark on the Launch Team Livestream last night. Really fun and a sweet time, so grateful for ya’ll serving on that team! 🙂

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Lauren ~

    Yes! Thankful for those promises delivered through His grace 😊 Sorry to hear about the financial challenges you are facing right now, I pray it draws both of you closer to Christ and more united as a couple. So glad that you are on the launch team with us I’m very excited about what God will do through that! I’ve recorded your financial situation in my prayer journal, asking God to provide for your every need and for this to become a sweet work of refining resulting in greater maturity & for Christ to be tangibly evident in your lives! For God’s glory!