“Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. ~ James 5:13-15 (NLT)
The Antidote of Worry.
Worry is the byproduct of a prayerless life. Ouch! This is a hard but honest truth and often difficult for us to accept. Worry happens when we keep our problems to ourselves or take our problems to people who can’t help us.
Sadly, worry is often the default for how we handle the problems we face, and we forget the power of prayer to change our circumstances.
James, the brother of Jesus, says it plainly, “are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.” (James 5:13)
The apostle Paul says the same thing, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” ~ Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
In other words, Paul is simply saying that the antidote for worry is prayer and gratitude.
The act of prayer moves us from a restless spirit of concern to a spirit of gratitude.
The Power of Prayer.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~ James 5:16 (NIV)
When you pray, do you believe your words are powerful and effective? Or do you struggle with believing they make a difference.
James says a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick…has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:15-16)
So sweet friend, don’t underestimate the power of prayer. God cares more about the heart behind our prayers than the eloquence of our words.
Present Your Requests.
Take your worries to God – pour out your concerns, complaints, fears and worries to him. Tell him what is keeping you awake. Take EVERYTHING to God and leave it with him.
When intrusive thoughts threaten to bring back your fears, remind yourself that you left your worries with God. And he is more than able to take care of it.
Find a promise to match your problem – search the scriptures for the promises of God that speak to the circumstances you face. Stand on these promises in prayer.
When we pray the promises of God, we are praying according to God’s will. And his word will not return void because one thing is certain throughout scripture, God keeps his promises.
Find a parking place for tomorrow’s problems – “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes” ~ Matthew 6:34 (The Message).
Give yourself permission to say, “I will take care of this tomorrow. Every day is a fresh start to handle each day’s problem when you’re mentally and physically replenished.
Be specific in your prayers – it’s important to be specific in our requests to God because that’s when we see God at work. And when he answers your prayer, you will know.
The Secret of Contentment.
“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV).
Paul is basically saying that being content is a choice you must make, and it’s not based on your circumstances. Gratitude is being intentional about focusing on what God has already done and thankful for all that you have.
It’s not always easy to be content in unpleasant circumstances or when things aren’t going the way we expected. But nothing changes our perspective and keeps our focus on the many blessings we often overlook like gratitude.
You can start today with a gratitude journal to keep track and help you remember how good God has been and the many blessings in your life that are far more than the negatives.
Worry and anxiety are no match for the power of prayer and gratitude.