Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Are You Praying As Much As You Worry?

Photo image courtesy of Katarzyna BiaƂasiewicz via 123rf.com
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
~ Philippians 4:6-9, NIV ~

My kids have rolled their eyes over the years as I have reminded them, "If it's big enough to worry about, it's big enough to pray about." They have come to me with so many concerns and upsets as they've grown. And ultimately, I have had to remind them of what I also need to remember -- God is still in control even when life feels out-of-control.

I have also had to remind the parents I serve of the same thing. Increasingly over the years, I have listened to their worries and anxieties as they raise their vulnerable kids. So much sleep is lost over school, and medical procedures, and the future. Group conversations can be derailed by moms who ruminate unfiltered over the most difficult parts of raising their child.

Recently, political appointees and health care legislation have robbed so many parents of their joy. The language I see being used is bewildering. Aren't these caregivers ones who claim to trust Jesus? Hasn't God seen them through the deepest valleys? Yet, they have allowed themselves to be misled into putting their hope in laws and manmade systems rather than Christ alone. Their emotions magnify the problem. Trouble is borrowed from tomorrow about things that may never occur. Evil motives are ascribed to people without impunity.

It all prompts me to ask these parents...

Are you praying as much as you worry?

Seriously. Look how much you are feeding your hatred and anger by seeking out information on the internet that supports your worldview. Are you praying that much? Read your nasty posts about certain people in positions of power. Have you prayed for those individuals? Notice how sick to your stomach you feel about what you think might happen. Have you ever grieved over your own sin to that extent?

Here are some prayers I have learned to pray as I've raised my precious kids in times of political tumult:
  • Thank You, God, for our President, Congress, Governors, and leaders. Be first in their hearts and help them to make wise decisions that bless the people and bring You glory. Help us to live in loving unity and peace. (See 1 Timothy 2:1-4)
  • Father, even when I disagree with those in authority and fear what may happen, I put my trust in You. I know You are on my side, even if You need to discipline our nation through these leaders. (See Psalm 56:3-4, 8-11)
  • Lord, I know You hold every moment of tomorrow. Remind me that You care more about my child than I ever could. Grant me peace in knowing that You have numbered every hair on our heads. You care infinitely about us, so I don't need to tie myself in knots about our challenges. I thank You that You go before us in every situation and interaction. (See Matthew 6:25-34)
  • Holy Spirit, show me when to speak up and advocate on issues, and when to give things more time. Keep me from getting overwrought with concern. At the same time, expose anything important that I need to know. Move me when I need to act and give me peace when I need to stand still. (See Isaiah 30:21)
  • God, thank You that no matter how much we are flustered and harassed by this changing world, You remain steady. Politicians, and laws, and educators, and health care, and other circumstances continually change. Yet, we can cling to You because You are reliably the same forever. Comfort me with this reminder when life is getting under my skin. (See Hebrews 13:8)
Friends, let's fight on our knees rather than fueling tension with vitriol and strife. El Shaddai is the All-Sufficient God who is greater than anything we might face.

PRAY: Lord, before I run to social media to share my angst may I first run to You.

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