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Why worry when you can pray?

posted 22 Dec 2012, 14:49 by Daniel Holton
Recently I read an article with the title ‘why pray when you can worry?’ I though that I misread it, but I hadn’t. Then I thought that the author had made a mistake, but no. The writer argued that worry comes far more easily to people than the ability to pray and to trust. He is right. Even believers who should know better, seem to do much better in worrying rather than in praying and trusting. If you are a ‘why pray when you can worry’ person, I want to encourage you to become a member of the ‘why worry when you can pray’ group.

The story is told of one of Napoleon's generals, Massena who, with his army of 18,000 soldiers besieged an Austrian town that had no defences whatsoever. The
town council met to discuss how to surrender. Just then an elderly man, the dean of the town church, reminded the council that it was Easter and suggested
that they hold the usual Easter services and put the problem in God's hands.  The council took his advice, went to the church and rang the church bell to assemble the townsfolk for worship. Napoleon's forces heard the joyful ringing of the bells and concluded that the Austrian forces had arrived to rescue the town  Immediately, they broke camp and beat a retreat, and the town was saved.

Stories like the above are in line with what we find in Scripture. Here are just some examples:

Jesus said: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

Jesus also said, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

It was Corrie ten Boom who said: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
Worry may come naturally to most people, it isn’t a very healthy or constructive emotion. In the book of Proverbs we find some real gems of Solomon’s God-inspired wisdom, such as, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”

The antidote to worry is not to try and stop worrying, but to pray instead. That is to pray and trust. Josh McDowell sees it like this: “Knowing that God is faithful, it really helps me to not be captivated by worry. But knowing that He will do what He has said, He will cause it to happen, whatever He has promised, and then it causes me to be less involved in worrying about a situation”.

It sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it and some of you may think that it is impossible not to be anxious. I have heard Christians say, ‘I can’t help worrying.’

But is that not what the apostle Paul advises the believers in Philippi?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And not just Paul, Peter also: “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

Will join my ‘why worry if you can pray’ campaign? I don’t mean that we should ignore our anxieties or that we should leave our worries at home. Let us freely bring our worries and anxieties to church, to the prayer meeting, the care group and the informal meetings. Let us share the things that trouble us and then let us pray together for one another and trust in a God who gave His all to save us. Let us believe without a doubt that the God who invested heavily in our salvation, will also care for us, keep us and ultimately take us to glory.

Longing to see worry replaced by prayer,

Pastor Bert

P.S. No one can pray and worry at the same time. (Max Lucado)