Prayers of Anxiety
I do not recall any time in my life that I was free from concerns of the future. As a child I spent most of my time alone and in my own head, escaping from the unstable world around me and creating one that met my idea of good and was easy to control. Adulthood brought all the cares of the world and I worked hard to keep them at bay and stay ahead. Over my 25 years of being a Christian the tension of acting as my own god and wanting to live as an adopted son of God has been a continual battle.
This tension of being a Christian and living in the world is very real. We should feel that tension and acknowledge that it exists and most importantly, we need to know that it is our desires that are the cause of that tension. A desire to be an adopted child of God and follow Him without question is marred by our desires to determine for ourselves what is good and relying on ourselves as the only source for that self-determined good.
This tension will manifest itself in many ways, one of them is in our prayers. Crying out to God from the pit of distress is a very good thing that is modeled for us over and over throughout the Psalms. Psalm 88 is full of this language of pleading for rescue and help and is a wonderful example to follow. When our prayer for rescue becomes a prayer of anxiety is when we begin to doubt the sovereignty of God, live in the future and determine what a good answer should look like, how it will come about and when it will happen. This self-determined future view is brought about by a prideful untrusting heart; when we believe we know enough and can see enough to determine how things will turn out. It is from this place that we cry out for Gods help with the caveat that it must fit within our plans. This may be compounded by lies we consume, doubting the goodness, ability, and presence of God all prompt the elevating of ourselves as our own savior and king.
I have caught myself praying this way in subtle ways and realized my error, asked for forgiveness and quieted my soul. Situations may still be dire; health, finances, wayward children, and a multitude of other sources of fear and anxiety strike at our hearts but the prayer of faith starts with an understanding of Gods character and my own limitations.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 131:1-3
The prayer of faith cries out to the Creator of the universe who is also present and acknowledges that He knows and determines the end of all things. God is pleased with me because of the work of Jesus Christ and I am His child in Christ. This is not just a pleasant thought to placate my fears but a deep truth for me to digest daily and my prayers ought to align with this truth.
Cry out to God; call on Him for rescue and help but first consider who you are calling on and your relationship with Him. We have free and unobstructed access to the throne of God thanks to Jesus. We ought to pause and remember to approach with reverence as we recall that this is the Creator of all things we are crying out to as well as the precious blood it cost to gain that relationship.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever. Psalm 145:14-21