faith

A Prayer to Help Stop Worrying

 

I don’t like to worry, but I do. And I know God tells me not to . . .But I do!

We all do, don’t we? It’s one of those yucky human afflictions.

What do you worry about? I worry about my kids. I stress about my job and if I’m doing it well. And when loved ones are sick, I worry about their prognosis.

You are not alone if you worry too. Please remember that.

What I Try to Do when I’m Worried

When thoughts of the worst won’t stop running a muck in my brain, and my anxieties even show up in my dreams or keep me up at night, these are the three things I do.

  1. Go to bed early and write down my worries in the journal on my nightstand.
  2. Ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him and ask for greater trust.
  3. Read Psalm 139.

Psalm 139 has been one of my favorite psalms since junior high. Well, maybe not THAT long, but it’s been a friend to me for most of my journey with Jesus. I love the intimacy in David’s words to the God he trusts–the God who knew his thoughts, actions, and the words he was going to say even before he said them.

David proclaimed there was nowhere he could go where God was not there. He was always present and available and there to lead the way. He was there to hold David.

Nothing Can Hide Us From God’s Caring Sight

Even the darkness can’t hide him. David may not be able to see God, but God can see him. . . . for darkness is as light to you. We may feel invisible, but we can’t base our faith on our emotions. We have to trust His Word. David was one of God’s chosen, but so are you. His words can be ours.

He proclaimed that God watched him as a baby in his mother’s womb, and the Lord himself made David good because all of HIS creation is good and ordained for good things. I love David’s confidence in his relationship with God and assurance of the Lord’s goodness.

This Truth Is Yours Too

You fill HIS thoughts throughout the day just as David wrote, “How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I’m awake, I’m still with you” (Psalm 139:17-18).

David closes this journal entry to God petitioning for HIM to kill his enemies. I normally jump over those verses. They disrupt the peaceful, enjoyable flow of David’s word, but these petitions prove something very important.

Trouble is Not the Absence of God

Despite his wonderful relationship with God, David still had problems. He fought battles. David cried out for the Lord to kill those who misused God’s name, and then he prayed…

Open hands

God Understands

I’ve prayed this prayer many times with David. I can say it by heart. I’ve related to his desire to be free from worries and cleansed from anything that “offends” the God I love, but I found new light to these words.

David prayed for God to know his heart. This Hebrew word can also mean understand. Somehow it is comforting to know and trust a God who not only knows my heart but understands it too. Don’t we give grace more freely when we “understand” someone’s actions or heart?

He continued the prayer, “Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is the biggie. In my studies, this insight changed the way I look at worry.

The word “offensive” is the Hebrew word otseb which means “idol.”

 The word “idol” jumped out at me! Can worry be idolatry?

I believe the answer to that my friends is yes. Worry is trusting something or someone else (maybe our own problem solving or control) other than God’s. We all worry. We all have anxious thoughts. We’re all guilty of this idolatry, so what do we do?

We ask God to forgive us and to reveal anything that consumes our thoughts, anything we are trying to fix or don’t trust HIM to handle. We then ask HIM to help us trust HIS goodness and kindness because I’m convinced that knowing His kindness, trusting His goodness, is the only thing that wipes away worry.

And that leads us to peace, the everlasting way.

The Prayer to Pray When Worry Overtakes You

 

Want to pray with me? Grab my hand.

“Dear God, hand to hand, heart to heart, we come to you giving you our praise. Be our glory. We want to walk with you as David did, experience your presence, and trust you beyond our worries. Change the way we think. Transform those worries to trust. May we know your goodness and kindness, your grace. Lead us to the everlasting way which is the path of trusting you. No idols. No worries. Trust. Amen.”

What is your favorite part of Psalm 139? It’s our reading plan this week.

Bite of Bread Bible Reading Plan – No Worries

Monday: Psalm 139: 1-4

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

Prompt: Does this freak you out or comfort you? Personally, it makes me feel special. I hope it does you too. God loves you this much. You are never out of His protective, loving sight. He knows you, all of you, and cherishes you. Write down your thoughts about this and how it can be a good thing.

Get the Printable!

Tuesday: Psalm 139: 5–8

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Prompt: God’s love envelops us. We can’t hide from God. There’s no place where He is not willing to go or be. He can even be found in the darkest places of our lives. Think about those dark places. Write down the evidence that He is there too.

Go See The Sun Wake Up!

Wednesday: Psalm 139: 9-12

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Prompt: Sunrise isn’t until after 7:00 AM ET these days. Go watch a sunrise and read this portion of scripture out loud as it rises then spend time worshiping the one who painted the sky.

Thursday: Psalm 139: 13-14

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

Prompt: Read this out loud as many times as you need to to really believe it. You are wonderful.

Download the Printable 

Friday: Psalm 139:15-16

My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

Prompt: “All the days ordained for me….” The Hebrew word is YAsar which means to form, fashion, devise, produce, create, to exist. It denotes a potter or creator. Read the sentence backward. Before one came to be, your wrote in your book the days you’ve specifically created for me. As I’ve meditated on this verse, I’ve gotten the sense that this does not mean every day, but special days, the life changing for better or for worse days God in His goodness and wisdom has created for us. List some of the influential days of your life that affected your faith.

Gotta Go to the New

Saturday: Psalm 139: 19-22

If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.

Prompt: Is this an uncomfortable scripture for you? It is for me because it seems to go against what Jesus taught. When that happens, we must realize that Jesus came to fulfill or complete the law. It’s like the OT was just the first half. Thank goodness that our Bible has a New Testament! Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6: 27-36). So, even though we may want to write a prayer like David’s for God to punch our enemies in the face, we need to write a prayer asking God to help us love them and bless them. Go ahead . . . write that prayer. 🙂

Sunday: Psalm 139: 23-24 

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

Prompt: Copy this verse down on a index card. On the other side, write down a worry. Tuck it into your Bible for another day, and then write in your journal a prayer thanking God for taking your worry. When the worry is resolved, write it on the index card. Keep it to remember.

Click here for a Printable with the Scriptures and Prompts to use on your own. 

Join me Thursday Night!

Let’s get together Thursday night to unpack worry a little bit more and how Psalm 139 can be the catalyst for peace and freedom from the bonds of anxiety. God wants you to be free! He wants you to walk daily in His peace. Just follow me on Facebook and meet me there at 7:20 PM ET on my timeline.

 

Digging Deep,

Andy

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