When Anxiety Drives Prayer

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. - Matthew 6:13

On Sunday, Shauna Miller shared about how often it’s anxiety drives her to prayer. As an Enneagram Type 6, she said she has struggled with “Mean World Syndrome.” Do you ever feel like everyone is out to get you? That the world is inherently dangerous? And do you find yourself mostly throwing up prayers when you’re feeling anxious and unsafe?

Sometimes religious folks can heap shame on people pray with those sorts of motivations. But perhaps Jesus is more gracious than we might assume. Perhaps he’s delighted to have us turn to him in prayer, even when we’re driven by our anxiety and less by his lovingkindness. Sure, there’s plenty in the Bible to suggest that he’d welcome our attention based on his goodness instead of on our fear, but like a loving parent, we often see God as being ready and willing to extend care regardless of what state of mind we are in.

So today, as we pray about the “protection” side of the House of Prayer (below), you are invited into your own heart. Take a few deep breaths right now and pay attention to your heart. How anxious are you about your day? How anxious are you about your safety (or the safety of your loved ones or your country or your world)? Perhaps these are the very things Jesus would love to speak with you about today - to deliver you from, to lead you away from. Talk with him about them, remembering that you can “Cast your anxiety on him for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).

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