Prayer for Anxiety
It is natural to feel anxious when we are in pain or to feel helpless while a loved one struggles. So what can we do about our anxiety and worry? Paul understood the human tendency to let our thoughts spiral downward as we focus on the negative. He urges us to focus our minds on things with eternal value and release our worry through prayer, which leads us into deeper spiritual territory where God can transform us.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
1 Peter 5:7 NLT
When Peter tells us to “give all your worries and cares to God,” we may doubt whether he really could have imagined the complexities and anxiety of modern life. In fact, with all our present-day troubles, we can begin to doubt that God really cares at all. Marriage issues, health concerns, career disappointments, and financial woes press in on us; add disease or disability into the mix, and we could approach the future with a panic attack. The truth is, Peter understood suffering pretty well—he had been beaten, imprisoned, and faced the threat of martyrdom for his faith and preaching.
Rarely would any of us voluntarily choose suffering and trouble; yet in some way or another, we all have to face them. But what we can choose is how we respond to them. We can believe the lies of the devil, who wants us to respond with despairing and blaming God, or we can choose to side with Christ, the one who suffered beyond all human comprehension and yet surrendered to the will of the Father, trusting in his goodness. Jesus knew that everything he experienced was part of the Father’s compassionate and gracious will. We can lean on him too because his care and concern for our well-being is always greater than we realize. The joy that we experience when God meets us in our suffering and the real hope we can have in Christ’s promise of eternity with him far outweigh our light and momentary troubles (2 Cor 4:17).
As a witness to Christ’s sufferings, Peter saw spiritual maturity displayed as Jesus cast his cares on the Lord in prayer. And our faith will grow as we practice prayer rather than engaging in counterproductive worry. When we lay our worries at the foot of the cross in prayer, the Lord surrounds us with his loving-kindness and lifts the burden of the suffering we bear. Only then will we experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. And his peace will guard our hearts and minds from needless worry as we live in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7).
Excerpt taken from The Beyond Suffering Bible NLT.