Fret Not Day 3 – Turn Worry Into Prayer
How many times, over the past week, did it come to mind that there was an alternative to fretting, that there was a way to escape the nagging thoughts of despair and receive peace instead? I caught myself a number of times purposing to exchange my worry-filled thoughts with this little routine:
…trust in the Lord
…find someone for whom I can do something good
…remember God’s faithfulness
…delight in the Lord
And do you know what? It works. It shouldn’t have surprised me since God’s Word has such power, but it was a pleasant realization that I could put into practice what I was “preaching” and discover that God’s truth is rock solid.
Today we’ll look at the fretting/peace exchange, finishing up with the last four ways found in Psalm 37 that God further invites us to wrap our minds around Him and not our worries. Continuing from yesterday…
The Fifth Invitation: Commit Your Way (vs. 5)
It’s no secret that worrying over all our “ways” can be a really heavy burden to bear—too heavy, in fact. The idea of committing, in this verse, is to roll whatever burden is bothering us onto the Lord. Doesn’t that sound like pure relief?! “Our way” includes the whole course of our life: our plans, our circumstances, our loved ones, our health. All the fears and fretting over our “way” can be rolled onto and committed to Him.
What is the best way to commit or roll away our worry? Prayer. We can pour out our every care into His hands and He will take the burden from us. Isn’t that what Peter wrote in nearly the same words? “Cast all your care upon Him” (I Peter 5:7). Why? Because He cares so much about us. And He cares about what we care about, too.
Turn worry into prayer. Prayer redirects our focus to the awareness that God is here, in the middle of it all, good or bad. When we roll the burden of our “way” onto the Lord, we are acknowledging His rightful authority to work out His plan for us no matter what that looks like. And He knows how to work it out for the best.
The Sixth Invitation: Be Still (vs. 7)
We live in a noisy world where productivity is paramount and speed is key. Stillness is nowhere on society’s radar for greatness. Truly, it’s the opposite. No wonder anxiety and fretting are such a reality! However, God invites us to the opposite calling, to be still. To find rest and peace from our fretting, we must sit still with Him. And the verse literally means to sit in silence.
Life is loud. The voices of worry fight to crowd our minds and rob the peace from our hearts. Sitting in silence may seem counterproductive, but God knows what He is talking about. He knows we need to spend silent time in His presence, listening for the soothing words of His voice. He won’t compete with the noise, but He will quiet our spirit if we get alone with Him. Silent time in His presences is truly the prescription for peace.
The Seventh Invitation: Wait Patiently (vs. 7)
If we’re honest, we would all have to admit that we don’t like to wait—not in traffic, not in line at the store, and especially not for things to turn out the way we think they should. When we wait, it’s often not by choice, and we’re in turmoil and full of fretting while being forced to do so.
Ultimately, there are two ways to wait: patiently or impatiently. David tells us the path to peace in our fretting is through patient waiting. Patience requires faith, faith in God’s perfect plan, and faith’s hardest lesson is to simply wait for Him to work. But what if we stopped scrambling to orchestrate outcomes and chose to wait—to pause and lock eyes with God and trust that what He has in store for us is actually the best, that His timing to bring His will to pass is perfect?
Wait patiently, because God’s will and ways are always worth patiently waiting for.
The Eighth Invitation: Refrain From Anger and Forsake Wrath (vs. 8)
At first, I felt that this final invitation seemed a little ill-fitting, a bit out of place, like a “do not” rather than all the previous “dos.” But truthfully, it’s the perfect ending. Because…
…if we haven’t chosen to trust the Lord with our worries,
…if we haven’t focused instead on doing good,
…if we haven’t fed our minds with God’s faithfulness,
…if we haven’t been delighting in the Lord to diminish our worry,
…if we haven’t committed our ways to Him in prayer,
…if we haven’t spent times of silence in His presence,
…if we haven’t exercised patience while waiting for Him to act,
…then, the bottom line is that we can become angry. We can become angry when we worry over things that never seem to change, angry when we fret over this being the end of the story, angry when we’ve prayed the same prayer thousands of times with no answers, angry over the way things have turned out—angry over just having to worry so much!
It seems to me that anger is the furthest we can fall from peace. So, we must refrain from it. The KJV of verse 8 says, “Cease from anger.” On the surface, “cease” seems rather self-explanatory. But it means so much more than to just stop. Anger runs deeper and requires more than just willpower. That’s why I was fascinated to discover that “cease” is the Hebrew word raphah. If you’ve ever studied the names of God, you already know that Jehovah Rapha is the God Who Heals. The two words are linked: to cease from anger is to be healed from it. When we’ve gone beyond fear and fretting and have gotten all the way to the point of having an angry heart, we don’t have to be stuck with it, but we need some serious healing. Thankfully, we know the One who can heal our anger, the divine Healer Himself. All we have to do is invite His healing touch.
Dear friends, fretting, worry, and anxiety aren’t going away anytime soon. They are, sadly, a part of this broken, fallen world. But they don’t have to take control of our lives. We’ve got alternatives—invitations to help fight the fears and fretting. Every one of these eight invitations draws our eyes away from ourselves and what is worrying us and redirects them to the Lord. Every single one. We are invited to trust in Him, to do good unto His glory, to feed on His faithfulness, to delight in Him, to commit our ways to Him, to be still and silent before Him, to wait patiently for Him and, if necessary, to be healed by Him.
Our Lord, the Prince of Peace, really is the answer to all our worries and cares. Let Him take them, let Him be our burden bearer, so we can experience His peace and joy in our souls.
Be blessed by Him today!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” (John 14:27)