How to pray when stress has you bound
Prayer by definition is talking to God. Based on that simple definition, it should be a pretty easy task to accomplish considering we utter anywhere from 10,000 – 20,000 words a day. How hard can it be to direct just a few of them to the God of creation? For a lot, it’s not – on a good day, but on those not-so-good days, when life is stressful – it is incredible how that well of words that typically pours from our mouth instantly runs dry as we attempt to form words of prayer.
Stress is often a result of life and not always the work of the devil, left unmanaged however, it provides the enemy of our soul the opportunity to leverage it as a means to stop us from praying. He knows the power of our prayer and its ability to stop his work, that being said, it is no coincidence that prayer in the midst of stress feels almost contentious. Its discomfort drives us to keep our mouth shut choosing to deal with it on our own rather than pushing through the friction in order to commune with our Heavenly Father. Dealing with it on our own, however allows a foothold to be given to the Enemy which ushers in a darkness that pigeon holes our thinking and removes our ability to see God.
God in His all-knowing ability, however, is wise to these feelings and in all his forethought provided us a weapon to turn to in these moments. What weapon do you ask, as you scour and search – Ephesians 6:17 instructs us to take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. God knew we would battle, and he provided us a means to fight, a mighty one actually -one to be used, opened, and read. A weapon that isn’t anything at all like what we imagine a weapon to be, but one that just the same, we can take confidence in as we turn to it, read it – even pray it back to him. When we do this, we remove the opportunity for that intended division between us and our Lord. These God breathed words are purposeful, effective and in this regard…they’re easy – they are already written, removing from us the excuse of having no words. We can take confidence in this truth by reading Psalms 119:105 as it beautifully states,
God’s word alone has the capacity to gracefully lead us through every step of life. It tells us where to turn in those moments when the weight of stress is unbearable and our thoughts are persuaded to blind us of our blessings, remove from us our hope, isolate us from others, making us restless, and removing our vision of victory. Our Father’s love for us is so immense though that He saw this within us, and He prepared a way out through scriptures that possess the ability to combat every single one of these thoughts (along with so many others).
When stress ensues, we begin to see things one way, BUT God sees them another…
5 Scriptures to Pray in the Midst of Stress
1) We lose sight no longer able to see our blessings, BUT God’s word sees differently and it declares, ‘And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:19 – acknowledge this scripture pray it word for word, and ask that God help you to lean on his provision.
2) We can’t find hope, BUT God’s word depicts otherwise, ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.’ Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT – Close your eyes and envision the Creator of the universe going before you, because he does, pray that God would remove from you all fear and discouragement as you trust that he is going ahead of you and making a way.
3) We say no one can help, BUT God’s word offers it abundantly, ‘My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and Earth.’ Psalms 121:2 this word is a promise that we are never alone. His word is truth. Confidently pray to God letting him know that you accept his help, acknowledge that he made the heaven and Earth and that what it is you are facing is nowhere close to impossible for him.
4) We are restless, BUT God’s word instructs, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT – Count your blessings – name them one-by-one. Pray these words back to him asking for help in releasing this stress and worry to the One that is able to do exceeding and abundantly more than we ask.
5) We are blinded to victory, BUT God’s word proclaims in triumph, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalms 34:18 NLT – Let him know that you may not feel his closeness, but you know by his word that he is there. Stand and proclaim his rescue is coming and praise him for it even before you experience it – it is coming.
Psalms 139:16 tells us, ‘You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.’ How comforting it is to know that we weren’t just thrown together on a whim…No, we were thoughtfully, and intentionally put together as every moment of our life was laid out before a single day had passed. What a beautiful scripture painting an exquisite image of the love of our Father. He cares for us, even in moments of stress and trial, and he lovingly filled his word with countless opportunities for us to use in battle over the thoughts of our mind that attempt to persuade us otherwise. Yes, he knew exactly what we needed before we even needed it, and he has provided.
I encourage you today, to trust. Open the pages of that Bible you haven’t opened in a while, unlock your phone and read through your app, whatever method you use to consume his word – do it. Turn to Him, and give his word the opportunity to do what it has been purposed it to do. Pray these words back to Him today. Choose Him.