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 www.freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici