By: Cheri Fuller
"The more you pray, the less you’ll panic.
The more you worship, the less you worry.
You’ll feel more patient and less pressured."
Catapulted into Prayer
It’s an amazing thing that the very things that push our panic buttons can catapult up into earnest prayer. When people discover I write and speak on prayer they ask me, “Have you always been a praying person? Have you always had a passion for prayer?” They think perhaps I was born on a prayer mountain in Korea to parents who were veteran intercessors and that I loved, even as a child, to spend hours alone with God praying.
Oh no! Quite the contrary. I was born into a busy family of six kids in Dallas, Texas, and of all the siblings, I was the most “Martha,” the most distracted and busy doing many things. Though I have a sister named Martha, I tended to be more Martha than she was. And even as Mama led us in “Now I lay me down to sleep. . .” every night, I could barely wait for the “Amen” to turn on the flashlight under the covers to read my latest book or roll my hair on pink sponge rollers in the dark.
But God apprehended me and brought me into the school of prayer. He began to develop a “Mary” heart in me alongside my productive Martha tendencies through my concern for my children, as you’ll read in a subsequent chapter. I came to the realization that in this broken world there was very little I could control (in fact, control was an illusion), but that my greatest influence for good in my own family and others’ lives was prayer.
I had a huge love for people and hated to see friends, family, and especially children suffer. My heart broke for them. But the Lord showed me the first, best, and most important thing I could do for them was to pray for them (and then through praying, He might show me what practically I could do for them).
Prayer became my first resource, not a last resort as often we treat it, and He transformed me from a worrier into a warrior—a prayer warrior, that is. The pattern of prayer gradually broke the pattern of worry and fear.
Do I give God my problems and worries all the time and leave them with Him? No, many times I take them back and start fretting again like this little poem “Broken Dreams” expresses:
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own. [Ouch, I have done that too!]
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How can you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “what could I do?
You never did let go.”
That’s why we’re to practice, which is the fifth P. Paul says in Philippians 4:9, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice” (i.e., don’t do this one time and give up if the worry comes back! Keep practicing!). “And the God of peace will be with you” (NIV).
To practice means giving our concerns to God (and give them back if we start obsessing over them again), to practice thanking Him in the midst of difficulties because it’s another chance for Him to show Himself mighty in our lives, to practice receiving His peace and dwelling on the positive instead of the negative. God wants us to give them all to Him: our shattered dreams, deepest burdens, worries, and pain. He can handle them, transforming our panic into peace and our worry into wonder. It’s kind of like pouring out water from a pitcher—we pour out these burdens and problems, which makes room for God to pour in His peace, joy, love. So keep pouring! Keep practicing! Keep praying!
In the simple act of letting go of your fears and problems, you will experience His presence, which is far more wonderful than we can imagine; you will have a changed perspective; you will draw near to God in your difficulty—and He promises to draw near to you (James 4:8).
© 2015 by Back to the Bible.
“From Replacing Worry for Wonder, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.”