Prayer-Worrier or Prayer-Warrior?

It seems only right somehow that I have struggled with writing this post. I deleted it twice and now still worrying if I will be able to clearly express what is on my heart. These thoughts started percolating in my mind last evening. I was singing my heart out as thousands around me did the same. We were worshiping. It was a beautiful moment, full of energy, full of passion. Suddenly, although I was surrounded by friends and family, I was alone. Well, it was as if I were alone. Just me, just my voice, just my God. If you’ve experienced the same type of moment I know you’re nodding your head in understanding. If you haven’t you may wonder at such mysteries.

I’m not going to say that a booming voice from the heavens spoke audibly to me. But, I am going to tell you that I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. All at once I felt a bit chastised, though tenderly delivered. Worrier or warrior? I knew the matter at hand was prayer. I knew I was being reminded to pray more and worry less. Tears stung my eyes as I humbled myself under the loving admonition of the Lord. He was right. Of course, He was right.

It seemed like such a very long time since I could remember not being worried about something. After all, I am a mom of many. I have been told that I have a great capacity to love and unfortunately I think that is often accompanied by a great capacity to fret.

After the time of worship and a time of communion that increased the sense of spiritual intimacy, the message was delivered and the main verse was my all time favorite one. Romans 8:28. As is often the case when studying the Word of God, I gleaned new truths from familiar teaching.

Here’s how The Message rewords it. “That’s why we can be sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” You know what, I believe that with all my heart, I truly do. So, then why do I so easily slip into a state of worry? Why then do I catch a glimpse of myself at times and see that instead of a prayer-warrior, I resemble a prayer-worrier?

This morning I was having my devotional time and was listening to the book of James, my favorite book, being read from the Message as well. Right in the first chapter, here is what I heard.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.”

Wind-whipped waves. Mercy, that was a fair description of how I’ve felt on more days than I can count. I’m pretty sure that prior to parenthood, I was convinced I knew what I was doing (and what most other folks should be doing). But, then, suddenly I was given responsibilities for young lives that were broken and scared and scarred as a foster-parent. Almost immediately I realized I did not know what I was doing, not in the slightest, and I desperately needed spiritual guidance and wisdom and strength beyond my own.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to make sure that I am not  ‘worrying my prayers’. I am going to practice taking the stance of a warrior instead of a worrier. I’m going to ask those close to me to keep me accountable. I’m going to be cautious about picking up loads far too heavy for me. I’m going to choose to ask boldly and believe. I’m going to give myself permission to not understand it all, fix it all or even get it all right. I’m going to take the offensive rather than the defensive stance.

I think that is the bottom line. As a warrior, we feel empowered while a worrier is instead cowered. I do not want to live my life in a state of distress and feeling overwhelmed constantly. I want to face life with courage and hope.

How about you? What will you choose? Prayer-warrior or prayer worrier? Will you waste energy and time rehearsing, retelling and reliving the things that have happened or may happen? Or will you choose to trust the Lord with the details, with the results, with the future?

Father, you designed us and know us better than we know ourselves. You understand how easy it can be for us to worry our prayers. You also love us too much to leave us in that unhealthy place. I am so glad. Help us Lord, help us to resist the urge to be a prayer-worrier. Remind us how it feels to make a real difference as a prayer-warrior! Amen!

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