How To Bravely Pray For Peace
This article was first seen on Living on the Edge By Chip Ingram
How To Bravely Pray For Peace When Fear And Anxiety Are Creeping In
Every time anxiety knocks on the door of your heart, it’s an invitation for you to pray for peace. In this article, I’ll show you 4 steps from the Scriptures that will help you to bravely pray for peace when fear and worry are creeping in.
At one time or another, we have all experienced fear, anxiety and worry. For some, it’s a condition that’s serious and requires professional help. But for many of us, it’s a condition of the heart and one that God talks about frequently in the Scriptures.
We are gifted worriers, and we’ve been groomed to be adept at this kind of behavior. In fact, it’s been modeled for us. Sometimes, we’re celebrated for the achievements that are born out of our attempt to quiet fear and anxiety in our lives, like workaholism and perfectionism. Can you relate?
Others of us have found ourselves in a difficult life circumstance because our attempts at quieting worry have led us down a dark hole and we can’t seem to find our way out.
Fear and anxiety can take on many different forms, but God wants to provide His unchanging peace to every one of us who struggles. Keep reading and you’ll learn the 4 kinds of prayer that will usher in His peace in your life.
Lesson from Philippians
Here’s what it says in Philippians 4:6-7:
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.
First, the writer commands us to “worry not.” Easier said than done, right? We are so gifted at this, it takes a conscious effort to not worry.
Second, we’re instructed to thankfully and consistently present our requests to God. Basically, pray about everything. We’ll do anything to give us pseudo peace during a moment of anxiety, but not usually the act of prayer.
And finally, the verse assures us that when you pray like this, God will guard your heart and your thinking. Who doesn’t want that?
I want you to experience God’s presence in your life, and here are the 4 prayers that will take you on a journey straight to His peace.
4 Ways To Bravely Pray For Peace When Fear And Anxiety Are Creeping In
1. Turn your thoughts and feelings upward in PRAYER.
Before you even get out of bed in the morning, resist the urge to check email or the Dow Jones, and instead recite a passage of Scripture that will remind you who you are and Whose you are.
Here’s a section from the Bible that will turn your thoughts upward. Speak these words as a prayer as you start your day:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
When you pause to put your focus on Him and utter this kind of prayer, it becomes a moment of worship and adoration.
Wake up and whisper the Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23 as your personal moment of worship. As you begin your day, take a step out onto your patio and observe God’s creation: the birds and vegetation, the sky, and the rising sun. Consider the all-powerful Creator and how capable He is to give you His Peace and contentment.
2. Focus on your need for God with PETITION.
A prayer of petition is the kind of prayer that recognizes our desperate need for God.
If you’re honest, have you ever said to God: “I can’t handle this. I don’t see any possible way this will work out well and I can’t stop worrying. I can’t do it. I need you.”
That’s a prayer of petition. It’s our way of acknowledging that we can’t provide for ourselves and that He’s the One who’s in control.
In our humanness, we believe the lie that it’s our tight grip on life that will make things work out nicely and will cause our worries to subside, but it’s the opposite. Here’s what happens when we petition God:
- We openly confess that we need Him and we cannot live life without His intercession and wisdom
- Humility grows within our souls
- We humbly seek forgiveness and acknowledge our shortcomings
- God’s peace can take over in our lives
You can’t cast your cares on Jesus and, at the same time, believe that your creativity, your brains, your hard work and your charm will solve the problem at hand. Focus on your desperate need for God through prayers of petition.
Consider the area of anxiety that’s knocking at your door. Can you be completely honest with God, expressing how incapable you feel to solve it on your own? Or do you need to be honest with yourself and admit that you’re still believing that you can handle it? Go back to the bullet points above, openly confessing your need, and then recognize the humility that you’ll experience, which will point you to God’s available forgiveness and subsequent peace.
3. Pray yourself into God’s presence through THANKSGIVING.
When I’m struggling, I make sure to take that struggle to God with an attitude of thanksgiving. Focusing on gratitude, He reveals things for which to be grateful, bringing to mind forgotten memories and details of life when He faithfully intervened.
For example, there have been times when I come to my daily time with God and all I can think about are the concerns of the day. In my state of anxiety and worry, I pray for peace, asking God to show me His perspective and what I can be grateful for in the circumstances. He never ceases to amaze me, showing me every small and big way He’s already shown up, assuring me that He’ll continue to provide for me in the future.
The outcome of this kind of prayer? Peace. Because the truth is, you can thank your way right into the presence of a holy God.
In my book, I Choose Peace, we’ll explore more benefits of gratitude and discover ways to quiet your worries and experience real, lasting peace that doesn’t depend on what’s going on around you.
Make efforts to be mindful of gratitude. Consider keeping a record of ways God has given you mercy and grace. Instead of a list of blessings, turn every single issue in your life into a prayer of thanksgiving. Is your marriage in a dark season? Spend time telling God all the ways you’re grateful for your spouse, asking Him to remind you of special memories and moments of grace. When you’re done with that exercise, I suspect God’s peace will be palpable in your soul.
4. Ask for specific REQUESTS.
Do you know why many followers of Jesus never experience God fully? Their prayers sound like this: Lord, bless my family. Help me have a good day. Help my children. Lord, cause me to grow spiritually, somehow, someway.
Instead, give your specific requests to the God who is all-wise, all-knowing. You’re his child and He will help you.
- Is your family in a health crisis? Ask God specifically for a doctor in your area that will help cure the concern.
- Do you need favor at work? Ask Him to move in the heart of your supervisor.
- Are you in a financial crisis? Pray for the specific amount of money needed to be supplied.
In fact, every worry can (and should!) be turned into a prayer. When you look back at the concerns that He’s covered with His peace, you’ll know that He is alive and He’s showing up. The problem is, when we don’t pray specifically, we can’t say for certain if God answered this prayer or that one.
He wants to reveal Himself and He wants to show up in your life. Pray for peace, pray specifically and wait expectantly.
In a journal, put a box next to every worry that’s listed. Pray in detail, and when God answers that request, put an X in that box. Like me, I suspect you’ll be pleasantly shocked to see that, over some time, all of those areas that were once a source of anxiety and fear are now overcome.
To put it simply, there is a way to pray for peace when worry and fear come knocking. Again, here are those stops on the journey of praying for peace:
- This is who God is
- I have great need
- Thank You, thank You, thank You, thank You, God.
- He will provide
That’s it! Those 4 prayers will give you God’s confidence and peace.
When fear and anxiety knocks at the door of your heart, let these kinds of powerful prayers answer the door, and then run into your Father’s arms.