Sunday, March 13, 2011

Worry and Prayer

I had to laugh the other day when I read someone on Facebook express their concern for a friend facing a small crisis.  She posted, "Worrying and Praying"!  I suppose she was being more honest than most of us when she said that, but it got me to thinking.  Can we worry and pray rightly at the same time?  And should we express whatever we are doing in the way she did?  Again, I am not trying to criticize the above statement.  I am just trying to think through how these two activities relate to each other.

I guess the way I would look at worry is twofold; there is a legitimate type of worry (although it might be called by some other term like concern) and there is a worry that the Bible warns us about.  Many of our prayers are brought about because we are worried or concerned over legitimate problems.  If your child is taken ill by a serious disease you would be concerned and rightly so.  If you are a Christian hopefully the first thing you would do is take it to the Lord.  And leaving our problems with the Lord doesn't mean that we won't continue to have concern over it.  Such concern would cause us to seek all forms of help and do whatever we can humanly do to help the situation no matter what it is.  This is just part of being a responsible adult.  Just because God is sovereign doesn't mean that we can coldly hand problems over to Him and not be concerned about things.  Neither is prayer ever seen in the Bible as a way out of using responsible means that God has given us to solve problems.  It just doesn't work that way.

But there is a worry that is not healthy and, in fact, is dishonoring to the Lord.  This is when worry or fear cannot be given to the Lord but instead paralyzes us so that we cannot trust the providence of God or we cannot be at peace amid trials, we cannot be joyful in afflictions and we cannot honor God with our words and attitudes before others during tribulations. 

In other words, a "worry" that causes us to cast our cares on the Lord is good and honors Him.  A worry that defeats us so that we cannot use problems as a means to serve the Lord by nature must be sinful.

So by all means worry and pray but don't pray and then worry.  Don't pray and then act like God won't do what is best.  Don't pray and then refuse to live by faith and rejoice in the Lord always.

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