Some of us know and love worrywarts. And some of us are worrywarts. And some of us are worrywarts married to worrywarts who gave birth to baby worrywarts, thereby ensuring generations of people who have mastered stewing, fretting, and agonizing.
Not that I have any personal experience in this matter, of course.
I have simply no idea of what I’m talking about.
Delusions aside, there’s a better way. There’s a way to take those anxious thoughts, stop them in their tracks, and focus on something better. Jesus came to bring us life, and bring it to the full (John 10:10). That full, abundant life does not include waking up in a cold sweat at 3:00 a.m. because another worry is attacking you. (Or me.) That full and abundant life does include prayer and Bible reading. And, even better, we can combine prayer and Bible reading by praying Scripture directly.
We discussed this a few months ago when I wrote How to Pray for a Crazy Person, but since then I’ve had more time to put Scriptural prayer into practice. I’ve had more time to see God work miracles on my behalf.
This works, my friends! We can turn away from our anxiety and focus on something better! We know that prayers work when they glorify God and seek his will. Praying according to passages of the Bible does exactly that. What could be more in-line with God’s will and glory than his written Word?
There’s a passage of Scripture that couldn’t be more perfect for exactly what we’re talking about here. These verses lay out a perfect plan for handling our fretting and edginess. Here they are:
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.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:6-9)
Let us take a moment to summarize, lest we have glazed over at the familiar verses of Scripture:
- Do not worry. (Stop yourself as soon as you recognize the fretting. If you can’t do anything about it other than run it through your negative mental processes, it’s worry.)
- Instead, pray over the matter. Take it right to God’s throne.
- Then, fix your mind on good things–true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable things. (Seriously, just pick something better and think about that instead! Don’t let your brain create negative ruts.)
- Practice peace by actively doing the loving, serving, humble things that Jesus did and Paul taught. (Wash some feet! Go chat with your 95 year old neighbor! Spend time with your kids! (Okay, technically neither Jesus nor Paul had children. But you see what I mean, here.))
Perhaps you are praying for a loved one who is choking with anxiety, or perhaps you yourself are the one choking. It doesn’t matter; we can pray this for someone else or ourselves. We can pray it for the whole family at the same time.
Here’s an example of what I mean. I hope it blesses you, and I hope you give this a try. Really. There is nothing more powerful than taking God’s Word to God’s throne. The next time anxiety grabs the steering wheel of your mind, take it right back over. It will fight you back. It will try again. Don’t let it win, my dears. Just take your thoughts right back to prayer and start all over again.