By Donna Hogue
We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.
The Bible has a startlingly-simple solution for anxiety: trust in God and His Word. Just like the instructions for my amaryllis plant, His instructions are clear and concise.
What do we gain by worry? All the great things desired in life stress, ulcers, shingles, headaches, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, and heart attacks…NOT! This is definitely a tongue-in-cheek statement. Medical studies have affirmed this observation by Dr. Charles Mayo, cofounder of the internationally-renowned Mayo Clinic:
“Worry affects circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt.”‘
The number-one effect worry has on a Christian is to run the flag of doubt to the top of the flag pole of faith and replace it. The worry flag signals Satan and says, “You are welcome to bring the other companions… fear, anxiety, and depression.” Fear, when developed, spawns worry, which gnaws away at our confidence in God. There are many commandments in the Bible that tell us not to worry. We obey other commandments. “Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” (Acts 2:38). “Thou shalt not kill,” (Exodus 20:13), so why do we balk at “Do not worry…” (Matthew 6:25 NKJV)? It is a sin if we do not follow God’s commands.
The New King James Version has eleven scriptural references for ‘worry’ and eight results for ‘anxious.’ In Philippians 4:6, Paul commanded: “Be anxious for nothing…” If you have been guilty of worrying or being anxious, start reading right now. You can be delivered today, this very minute. Confess it, and ask forgiveness. Torment and fear will flee at the name of Jesus!
If someone is watching your Christian walk, how you handle adversity can make an indelible impression—good or bad. What are some constructive ways to kick worry out of your life? Philippians 4:8 instructs us:
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of a good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Philippians 4:8 leaves out all negative thoughts and sends any type of gossip back to the enemy of our soul, ushering in positive gems that sparkle with encouragement and faith.
How does prayer help? You are the one it affects, and you are the one that will benefit from it the most. Also, you are the one that is responsible for prayer.
There is an old Negro spiritual that says, “Not my brother, not my sister, but it’s me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” Don’t expect others to do your praying. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The Scripture doesn’t say maybe or probably. Can is a positive word and means it is possible. This word of faith can be deposited in the promise bank. He will supply all your needs. Don’t just wish for an answer…put legs on that wish. Don’t just talk about the problem and worry it to death…pray about it and study to see what God says about it.
Have a special place to pray? Any room in the house will work, whether it is on your knees, in a chair, walking, or standing. One person told me he has coffee with Jesus every morning in his recliner. Sometimes, when waking in the dark before sunrise, I lie quietly and pray, as my husband is a light sleeper. Other times, the Spirit compels me to arise and go to another room to pray. Did God hear every time? Why wouldn’t He? He doesn’t have a hearing problem. According to Psalms 34:15 (NKJV), “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” That means 24/7!
Prayer is triumph, in whatever form. –Mirakel Reves
When you communicate (pray) with God…it opens doors of opportunity for God to intervene, to create a work of faith, to do the impossible, and to bring dreams to pass. One of the shorter verses in the Bible, I Thessalonians 5:17, spells it out correctly: “Pray without ceasing.” When should a person pray?
- In emergencies
- While you iron
- While you wait
- When happy or sad
- While you make beds
- While you clean house
- While you wash dishes
- When you drive to the store
When you feel overwhelmed with stress, I Peter 5:7 (NKJV) tells us, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Why? Because He cares and He loves us. Can you add a single hour to your life by worrying? If you could, worrywarts would live to be 747 years old. No! According to Matthew 6:27, it would be a futile exercise. It is amazing how our Lord covers all the bases…and sometimes we still worry.
I love this quote by Mary C. Crowley, “Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.” Worrying about a situation? Copy this quote and put it on your mirror, refrigerator, and the bedroom door, and read it often.
Woven throughout the tapestry of the Bible are examples of people affected by stress. Job wrote in Job 14:1 (NKJV): “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” His family, wealth, and health were wiped out in one day. Talk about woes, he had more than his share. I love verse 15 of the previous chapter, where he declares, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (NKJV). Job set the example for us …his trust was unshakeable in the face of disaster.
American preacher Henry Ward Beecher said, “Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. The choice is yours. Be sure you grab hold on the handle of faith!”
Just this past week, tragedy struck with brutal force in Austin, Texas, at an IRS facility. After setting fire to his home, a stressed-out man flew a stolen, small plane into an IRS building. Worry, if not remedied, will turn into stress, rage, and death.
Even Jesus’ disciples worried. Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea in Matthew 8:25-26, when the disciples became fearful. One time they worried about how to feed the crowd that came to listen to Jesus’ teachings. Another time, they wondered about paying the taxes. What is amazing is that Jesus answered with miracles in both of these situations. In John 2, His first miracle was performed at a wedding. It was the third day of the wedding celebration and Mary, His mother, told Him about the shortage of wine for the guests. The Bible doesn’t say she was worried, but it was a definite concern. Hospitality in the east was a sacred duty. A wedding feast often lasted for a week. To run out of wine at such an important event would have been humiliating for the bride and groom. Mary had utmost faith in Jesus. John 2:5 records what she said, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” She had no doubt in His authority.
We often hear the term, “Why worry, when you can pray?” Many researchers have proven that prayer works and can arrest any situation. Prayer is the solution to all problems, including worry, but it requires faith in the Almighty God. We must trust that He has the power to work out all problems. It is obvious that worry is a symptom of a society that lacks a spiritual connection and trust in the Creator. The problem would be solved immediately, if one turned to the Saviour.
In Mark 9:17-27, the father of one possessed of a dumb spirit brought him to Jesus to be healed. In verse 24, it says: “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” If you have a problem or situation, state the same words, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” He will hear and remove all worry!
Which kingdom are you putting first? The difference between personal peace and personal turmoil is an issue of priorities. What about your time with Him, your service for Him, the condition of your heart? These should be priorities; otherwise, there is no peace… just guilt and pain. When a situation seems hopeless and gets worse, a person needs peace from the Heavenly Father to get through it. Here are some promises to claim:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you:
not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not
your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John 14:27 NKJV
“Yea, 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.”
Psalm 23:4-5 NKJV
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver
you, and you shall glorify Me.”
Psalm 50:15 NKJV
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God
I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust;
I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”
Psalm 56:3, 4
“In God I have put my trust: I will not be afraid
what man can do unto me.”
“He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,
and shall not despise their prayer.”
Psalm 102:17 NKJV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of
power and of love and a sound mind.”
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts
out fear, because fear involves torment…”
I John 4:18 NKJV
Worried about healing in your body? Read the fascinating story of King Hezekiah in II Kings 20. This is a great example of how God not only heals, but answers more than abundantly. The prophet Isaiah came to the king and gave him two orders. Get your house in order because you are going to die.
There’s nothing like being plain and to the point. What did Hezekiah do? What would you do? Without further instructions, he quickly turned his face to the wall, ignoring everyone around him, and started praying and weeping. This is always the correct solution to a crisis. Forget the worry step. He flew right past it and went straight to stark-paralyzing fear. He reminded the Lord of how he walked in truth with a perfect heart and did what was good in His sight. God is a Rewarder of those who faithfully serve Him.
Talk about a speedy answer. It was faster than a text message, an entry on Facebook or a message on Twitter. Before the prophet Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, the Word of the Lord came to him. He was told to return and tell Hezekiah that God had heard his prayers, saw his tears, and would heal him. Hezekiah was told to put a lump of figs on his boils. I don’t know if Hezekiah was still a little shaky or worried from the whole circumstance, but he asked Isaiah for a sign that the Lord would heal him. Maybe he still was a little bit worried and had a tinge of doubt floating around. His life was on the line…he had to be sure. He knew it would be an easy thing for the sundial to move ten degrees forward, so he asked the Lord to move it ten degrees backward. According to II Chronicles 32:31, others observed the same miracle. Because of that one specific travailing prayer, Hezekiah received four great miracles:
- Was healed of boils.
- Added fifteen years to his life.
- Saw the sundial turned back ten degrees.
- Saw Jerusalem delivered from the king of Assyria.
Are you weary from worrying? Just follow the instructions in the Book, trust and obey. Matthew 11:28 (NKJV) tells us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Can’t sleep at night? That is a promise you can rely on to bring results. It will not rust, melt or fade away. God can do the impossible, according to Matthew 19:26, if we trust Him. All we need to do is read His instructions and wait.
Are you persuaded that God can take care of anything that comes into your life? The Apostle Paul in Romans 8:38 stated that he was persuaded. He was convinced of God’s character, His power, and His love.
I have been driven many times to my knees by the
overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.
There are 144 verses in the Bible that say, “Fear not.” Our Creator knew we would need every one of them. What did God tell Isaac when he was afraid? “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you” (Genesis 26:24 NKJV).
Let me challenge you to write down your favorite Scriptures for adversity in the notes at the end of this chapter. They will give you much comfort and be ready for the next attack of the enemy. A good soldier is always equipped and ready for battle.
The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear
what man shall do unto me.
Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is
too small to be made into a burden.
—Corrie ten Boom
Erasers are tools in the arsenal for spiritual warfare. The number one eraser is the most prominent and valuable. It is simple—the Word of God. It will provide the answers to erase any situation or adversity. It is the best resource and remedy for worry. The Word is a sword also… two-edged, at that. Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The Word is powerful and alive today. The Amplified Version states,
For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power—making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [that is, of the deepest parts of our nature] exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
No Christian can do without it. Pick up the Bible and start reading. It becomes even more powerful when you pray it. Scripture gives 100% satisfaction and is fully guaranteed. It tells us in Isaiah 55:11 that the Word will not return void. When using Scripture as a weapon against worry, it literally puts thumb tacks in the worry chair. The urge to sit back down in it will soon vanish. Listed below are the worry erasers:
Worry Eraser #1
The Bible. It is the best resource and remedy for worry.
Worry Eraser #2
The Bible on CD. This is wonderful to have playing throughout your home or car. How can Satan stay around when the Word is going forth? He can’t.
Worry Eraser #3
Preaching CDs and DVDs. These will continue to bless again and again.
Worry Eraser #4
Gospel CDs and DVDs. As was mentioned earlier, King Saul knew the full value of godly music. It drives away dark clouds of worry and depression and improves the attitude.
Worry Eraser #5
Spiritual books and devotionals by Christian writers. These will lift up, guide, and encourage a Christian. One of my favorite authors is the late Nona Freeman, former missionary and ambassador to the world. She walked in a realm of faith that some never achieve. Keep a personal library full of books like these and reread them often.
Worry Eraser #6
A Promise Box. This is a fun one. Bible bookstores offer them in a variety of styles. Mine is beautifully etched in clear acrylic and has a spring-loaded hinge lid. Just select a scriptural promise from it and use it as the theme for the day. Many times, the Scripture I chose in the morning was exactly what I needed for the day. School-age children love to select their own verses, and this is a great creative way for them to learn Scriptures.
Worry Eraser #7
Keys to the Kingdom by Prayer Point Press. I enjoy using this resource. A series of key rings with forty Scripture prayers attached are written on small 2 x 3 1/2 inch cards. They fit easily in a purse or glove compartment and can be slipped into a Bible cover. Nine are available:
- Prayers for the Lost
- Prayers for Healing
- Prayers for Schools
- Prayers for My Wife
- Prayers for My Pastor
- Prayers for My Children
- Prayers for My Husband
- Prayers for My Workplace
- Prayers for Our Nation and Our Military
Worry Eraser #8
Bible Concordance. If wanting to research Scripture, this is a must. It has an alphabetical list of words in the Bible and gives the Scriptural references where they can be found. Some Bibles come with one. I enjoy Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Worry Eraser #9
Online Resource — www.biblegateway.com. This is a free online resource that I use often. It is a searchable online Bible in over 100 versions and 50 languages. It offers Passage Lookup, Keyword Search, and Topical Index, which will save you hours of valuable time.
Worry Eraser #10
Another online resource: www.theword.gr. My grandson, Jeromy Hogue, told me about this free online Bible program. It is downloadable, so it is available at your fingertips at all times. It gives the Hebrew and Greek definitions. It offers the capability to write down notes to verses and chapters. WORD is also portable and can be taken with you on a USB flash drive. (The term USB is used to designate a kind of standard interface for connecting peripherals to a computer.)
Any time you can find a prayer tool, grab it. Don’t keep it a secret—-share it with others. Years ago, I bought a fold-up chart called Bible Promises at a Bible book store. I tried to locate another, but it was out of print. It gave key promises from God’s Word for spiritual growth and covered six areas: prayer, mercy, guidance, salvation, assurance, and strength. It is battered and worn around the edges from much use, but I still keep it handy inside my Bible cover.
With so many weapons, how can the worrywart not understand that he or she can change? Matthew 19:26 says, “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” I realize that this Scripture was talking about the rich young ruler that came to Jesus asking about eternal life. The Lord Jesus has the power to give eternal life, and He is more than able to remove all worry from your heart. A worrywart is someone that lets worry he his life, instead of the Lord. That is a sin because God is no longer first. Are you a Christian crippled and bound by worry? Ask His forgiveness today and re-consecrate your life. He is full of love and mercy, and His arms are always wide open.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy, and find grace
to help in time of need.
This article “Worry and the Christian” was excerpted from The Worry Chair by Donna Hogue. It may be used for study & research purposes only.