A Prayer to Overcome Worry
By Jessica Van Roekel
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”- Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV
The nighttime sounds of the house filled my ears. The furnace cycled in and out. The digital clock lit the dark room, and my mind whirred like a blender. I didn’t know how to manage the next several weeks because of many commitments and responsibilities. When I’m stressed, my mind becomes a battleground, and the war occurs at night when I want to sleep. Thoughts of I’m not good enough, I’m all alone, and I’m going to screw up explode in my mind. I counterattack with positive affirmations like I am enough, I can do this, and I don’t have to be perfect. And yet, the unwanted, discouraging thoughts keep coming like a tank bent on destroying my peace and confidence. Worry wins and robs my todays of their beauty and goodness.
One of the original meanings of worry is to gnaw. Our family’s dog loved to gnaw on his bone, but the more time he spent outside, the less he gnawed on his bone. Sometimes when worrying, I spend too much time in my head. I entertain “what-ifs” and “what-thens,” creating made-up scenarios where my worst fears come to life. They play across the movie screen of my mind, and I try in vain to shut it off. Jesus gives us wise words about worry in Matthew 6:25-34. He doesn’t tell us it’s wrong to plan to provide for future physical needs. Instead, he addresses the worry that reveals a lack of faith in God’s love and care. Within this passage, we discover how worry prevents faith from growing. It stands in the way of seeking God and his righteousness with our whole hearts. When we focus on who God is and what’s important to him, we find freedom from worry.
A peaceful sleep free from worry brings rest, but what do we do when the battle rages in our mind, and we enter a war for our peace? Spiritual warfare may take place, but we are not defenseless. God gives us armor, and the Apostle Paul lays out the details in Ephesians 6. Our plans and strategies may fail us, just like my positive affirmations were inadequate against my middle-of-the-night worries. I am not enough for the tasks ahead of me, but God is. For example, the belt of truth is an allegiance to God’s truth, and his word declares in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that when we are weak, he is strong. Situations that task our strength allow you and me to see God’s strength on display.
I might feel alone, but God is with me. For instance, we have the shield of faith. This pictures the large Roman shield, covered in leather and often soaked in water to extinguish the flaming arrows from their enemies. Bold faith believes in God’s promises which help us deflect enemy attacks. When we hang onto the promise of God’s presence in good and bad times, we employ our shield of faith to extinguish the worrisome idea that God has abandoned us. I probably will screw up, but God doesn’t call me to be perfect. He calls me to obedience and to trust in him. This means I wage war in my mind and need the helmet of salvation. Being renewed in our minds and confident in our relationship with God protects us in these battles. It enables us to follow God’s strategy of victory.
Paul opens his treatise on the armor of God with these words, “Be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Worry is one of the devil’s schemes, but we don’t have to succumb to him. It is God who is strong, and it is his might flowing through us. We dress ourselves in his armor, and then we stand. We can bring him our concerns and surrender our desire for control over outcomes by exercising faith in his love and care for us.
My worries keep me up at night. It feels like an onslaught of negativity, and I struggle to stand. Forgive me for looking to my strengths and solutions. It is only through you that I find lasting peace. I surrender my will and my ideas of how things should be. I give you my anger over situations I have no control over. I refuse to believe I am alone because you promise you are with me. I’m going to stand firm in you. I’m choosing to trust you. You are loving and kind, and I will focus on your goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Joice Kelly
Jessica Van Roekel loves the upside-down life of following Jesus as she journeys to wholeness through brokenness. As an author, speaker, and worship leader, she uses her gifts and experiences to share God’s transformative power to rescue, restore, and renew. She longs for you to know that rejection doesn’t have to define or determine your future when placed in God’s healing hands. Find out more reframingrejectionbook.
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