encouragement · Fear · God's Love · Knowing God · Prayer · Trust

If You Worry About It, You Can Pray About It

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As our car pulled out of the church parking lot on Sunday, all five of us spotted a cloud of smoke billowing on the distant horizon. My oldest daughter’s voice rose in panic from the backseat. 

“Do you think our house is on fire?!” 

My husband, in his calm reassuring manner, replied, “No, honey, it’s too far north to be our house.” 

As we continued to wind our way home, however, the smoke continued to appear stubbornly in the direction of our neighborhood. 

“Are you sure it isn’t our house, daddy?”

“Yes, I’m sure.” he said gently. 

As we made the turn on to our street, I said, “See! Our house is still standing. Nobody’s house is on fire over here.”

The smoke was closer than it had been near the church building, however, and the cloud still rose ominously in the west. As we walked the path to the front door, my middle daughter placed her hand gently on my arm and asked quietly, “Is it silly to be scared of something like fire, even when we aren’t in danger right this second?”

I just love these moments when my children ask simple questions of faith. Her blue eyes gazed searchingly into mine, as though trying to detect disapproval. 

I squeezed her little hand. “If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about. If you’re worried about our house burning down, tell God about it. Continue to pray until you’re not worried anymore. The only way you’ll rest easy about your fears is to share it with God.” She nodded, smiled at me, and walked inside the house. In hindsight, I should have prayed with her in that moment to calm her fears.

If only she knew how often I wrestle with anxieties of a similar nature. I fear the unexpected just as much as she does!

I lost my first child in miscarriage, and I worried about it during every subsequent pregnancy.

In my husband’s previous career, my stomach would drop every time he walked out the door as I faced the very real possibility he might not come back alive.

I still worry about my children’s safety, education, friends, training…

My list of worries may change, but it never ceases to exist.

Like my child, I often believe, subconsciously, that my worries are too frivolous to take to our Heavenly Father. I respond in one of three ways:

1) I try to suppress my worries

2) I try to handle my worries alone

3) I keep worrying while acting indifferent.

The Lord doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but because we cannot see the future, it is only natural for us to feel anxiety over the unknown. Recognizing this, our loving Father calls us to bring our fears to Him in prayer with a promise that “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard [our hearts] and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4.6-7) His peace has covered me more times than I can count!

My youngest child is preparing to have a tonsillectomy, and while I know it’s a common procedure, I fear the many things that could go wrong—reaction to the anesthesia, complications in surgery, or even damage resulting from failure to rest properly. Just like my daughter’s concern about fire, I worry over possible (yet, unlikely) scenarios. The advice I gave my daughter is advice I am applying to myself—every time I worry, I pray.

God listens to my petitions with an even greater patience and compassion than I extended to my daughter. God can also take care of whatever is troubling me, because He holds the future in His hands.

Other people may downplay our fears or whip us into a frenzy of fear. God, on the other hand, encourages us to trust Him. The peace He provides does not come from pretended apathy, but from the reassurance of His presence. Even if “the worst” should happen, He wants us to trust in His ultimate plan for the good of our souls.

Cast your anxiety on God because He cares. Keep praying, keep asking until the danger has passed or the worry is gone—whichever comes first.  

God is the Creator of both the expanding universe and the invisible atom. He sees the big picture while still caring about minute details. Nothing is so big He cannot handle it, nor so small as to escape His notice.

“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Psalm 55.22, NASB


This article originally appeared at The Courage. For more articles on Faith, Family, and Culture, visit TheCourage.com.


Elihu’s Additional Note: I read through some of the comments on the original posting, and someone said we are “double-minded” if we feel worry, and I’d like to address this.

God gives many commands to His people: do not be afraid, do not be anxious, do not worry, rejoice always, etcetera. God also knows our nature: “He remembers we are but dust.” Why would God tell Joshua, “be strong and courageous and do not be afraid,” if Joshua was feeling fearless? Why does Paul tell the Philippians rejoice always if there were no cause to be discouraged? Would you tell your kids to stop arguing if they were in the habit of playing peacefully together?

God knows our circumstances stimulate emotions of fear, discouragement, or worry, and He calls us to overcome our feelings through trust, obedience, and prayer. Do not misunderstand this post as some sort of endorsement to continue in a state of worry; this is a call to take our worries to the Lord and leave them in His hands so our hearts will rest in His peace.

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35 thoughts on “If You Worry About It, You Can Pray About It

  1. “If it’s worth worrying about, it’s worth praying about…” Love that! You are such a wise mama! And I do not see any reason for any misunderstanding of your post… It is beautifully and clearly written and teaches Biblical Truth thoroughly and with grace. Nothing “double-minded” here! 🙂 Outstanding post! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lynn! The comment was made on a facebook page, and I think sometimes people read the title without reading the article. I learned a long time ago never to comment on something unless I had read the article in question. I used to spend so much time worrying about the fact that I was worried—which made no sense. Somewhere along the way, through much study and prayer and reflection, I learned that worry is a natural symptom of living in an uncertain world. We do, however, serve a very certain God, and it’s only through taking our troubles to Him that we can ever have real peace. I still deal with worry, but not to the degree that I did in my younger years. 🙂 God be with you, Lynn! Your comments are always so refreshing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! In this instance, the editor of the website to which I contribute wrote the title. She definitely has a knack for the headline! 🙂

      Like

  2. this is great Elihu—it really put the notion of worry and prayer in a new light for me.
    Not only do I need to pray about my concerns, I really need to learn to “voice” my concerns to God—rather than a petition prayer, I need to be able to just say “hey, I am really worried over ________…filling in the blank with whatever the blank may be—your words put me in the mind for a new post tomorrow 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yay! I look forward to reading your post.

      While I firmly believe in approaching God with reverence and humility, I also know that He sees us in much the same way a Father looks on their child—with compassionate understanding. When my daughter posed that question to me, it really was an “aha” moment. She was worried about the fire and worried that it was wrong to be worried. I have been there so many times, yet from the scripture, I know we serve a loving God. David often poured out His troubles to God in the Psalms, usually concluding with a remembrance of God’s love and power.

      Peter says, “Cast your care on Him for He cares for you.” That verse (along with Jesus’ reminder that “your heavenly Father knows you need all these things”) is a call to unburden myself. He already knows what is troubling me, but in taking it to God, I don’t need to take my worries anywhere else. I can leave them in His capable care and devote my energy to the needs of others, including the spreading of the gospel! 🙂

      God be with you, Julie!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Elihu—firstly, I was touched by the exchange between you and your daughter and secondly…I am always blessed by your words, wisdom and teachings.
        So yep—you’ll be front and center tomorrow 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I needed this. I’ve been worrying too much and trying to control what’s beyond my power when I know instead that I should be relying on God. It’s like a bad habit that’s too easy to fall into and this brought it into perspective. I especially love the thoughtfulness behind your additional comments on double-mindedness as it worked as that final clincher to bring the message home.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so glad this encouraged you. It took me years to figure out that instead of worrying about the fact that I was, well, worried, I need to just take my worries to Him in prayer. I definitely relate to what you say about control. A Christian author and speaker named Elisabeth Elliot used to quote, “In acceptance lies peace,”—and she is right! I world is so bent on how much “control” we have, and yet the only thing we really control is the direction of our minds and hearts. Much of our circumstance can be yanked from our control at any moment.

      Thank you for your comment, and may the Lord bless you with the peace that passes understanding!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post! Amen to it all. It took me the longest time to learn to pray instead of worrying, to cast my cares on the Lord, no matter how silly they might seem. I was often afraid of bothering Him with the small stuff. He wants to hear from us, He wants to know our worries and our fears 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too, IB! When I really consider who God is, I am so much like a little child in His sight anyway. He sees my worries already, and wants me to rest in trust. I have not perfected this yet, but at least I “get it” and as GI Joe used to say, “knowing is half the battle.”

      God bless you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a good and helpful post. I’ve always been a worrier and suffer from anxiety too. In one of my many wrestling sessions with God about it, I was led to understand that the mind, wisdom, skills and abilities He has given me equip me to meet any situation. Constant prayer of course is essential to keeping this forefront.

    Great lesson you taught your daughter too about taking your worries to God. I wish I had learned this as a young girl.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have struggled with depression and anxiety, and understand what you mean! I am glad that He is teaching you and helping you grow. I wish I had known this during my younger years too, but odds are it would still have taken years to sink in. In my youth, I always got the impression that worrying was somehow the mark of a faithless Christian, yet I couldn’t just “get over it.” It took me a LONG time to learn to simply pray each and every time the anxiety hit, instead of fussing about the fact that I was worried and shouldn’t be.

      May the Lord bless you, Tricia, and grant you that peace that passes all understanding. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Seize the moment to pray! Like you, I too often have realized later that I should have prayed with that person then at that place. I have been focusing on that, but I didn’t do it again yesterday. Thank you also for an insight into my mother’s worries. My older brother died when two days old; my youngest brother was born on the same date several years later. Mom panicked. Your comments suggested to me the likelihood that she also knew fear after the births of those born between. Pray hard, my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Seize the moment and pray! It’s something I need to get better at.

      I am sorry to hear about your mom’s grief. That whole period of pregnancy and infancy is one of great exhaustion and anxiety for a mother—an anxiety often enhanced by unavoidable discomfort and sleeplessness. My oldest daughter was born one year to the day after I learned I had miscarried my first child. Oddly enough, that fact didn’t cause me anxiety, but struck me more as a gift from God, after a long period of grief. Of course, I worried about other things…

      Thank you for your insight and sharing your story. Such stories remind me to look more closely at what people are going through and extend compassion.

      God bless you!

      Like

    1. Well-said! Thank you for your input. When he says, “do not worry,” he assures us that our Heavenly Father knows what we need. God bless you.

      Like

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