Prayer Warrior or Prayer Worrier?
This week, we're featuring a series of blog articles that all relate to prayer. If there's one thing to commit to in the New Year, it's tough to top prayer. Today's article was originally published on July 15 and 16, 2015.
I've begun to realize that my prayers have a tendency to be driven by my worries. "Dear Lord, please help me so I don't _____," and "Dear God, I worry ____ in my life won't work out."
I know I'm supposed to be a prayer warrior, but sometimes I find that I'm more of a "prayer worrier."
My life is full of what-if scenarios and the anticipation of what might go wrong next. I expect rough patches. I stress and try to plan in order to avoid unpleasant surprises. I struggle to release control, and I worry if God will answer me the way I think it should be handled.
Hmm ... But wait, doesn't God provide food for the birds and water for the flowers? How much more does He want to bless my life? (Matthew 6:28-30) When I pray, I know I should leave my request in God's capable hands and stop biting my nails over it.
Now that I've acknowledged my impulse to fret — "Hi, my name is Erin, and I am a Prayer Worrier" — I am working to improve my daily communication with God. He certainly doesn't want me to be anxious all the time. He wants me to learn to rely on His perfect timing and how to pray with patience.
But not everyone prays for the same reasons, with the same purpose, or in the same manner. Think about the following prayer personas and ask yourself which you resemble most of the time.
The Whistle While You Pray-er
Life is bright! God's blessings are pouring into my life! And as long as they keep on coming, everything will be great! But if the storm comes, I'm ducking for cover until it passes ... Maybe it's time for me to realize who provides the shelter when the storm arrives? Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
The Scared-y Pray-er
I messed up again. How can God keep forgiving me? Maybe I better skip praying ... I'm too ashamed. Hold on. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And that's a promise.
The Broken Record Pray-er
"Dear Jesus, Thank you for my family, my job, my health. Please bless those who are sick and sad. Amen." Sometimes, when my sleepy or distracted mind tries to talk to God, prayer turns into the "same old, same old" routine. It's important to clear my mind and petition God in sincerity, asking Him to help me find the words to pray. (Check out Romans 8:26-28!)
The Needy Pray-er
"Please bless my job, please bless my family, please bless ... please bless..." I remember the morning our Sunday school teacher asked us to go around the room and say a prayer that only gave thanks, without asking anything. It was a powerful moment. God deserves our thanks!
The Disgruntled Pray-er
God, why isn't this working out? I can't believe this is happening to me! Why can't I feel You? Philippians 4:6-7 warns, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
The Prayer Bully
God, I really can't stand this person. Please help them realize they are wrong. Uh-oh. Philippians 2:12-15 says, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings ... That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke ... shine as lights in the world."
So, which type of pray-er are you?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.