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This is the second blog in a series, The United States of Anxiety. As discussed in part 1, anxiety is something all of us have experienced at one time or another. After struggling for nearly 20 years, I started using prayer for anxiety, and everything changed.  

Have you ever experienced emotional, financial, or relational pain—pain that isn’t seen? Often the most significant battles that you and I go through are the ones people don’t see. 

Admittedly, there were times when I acted as if everything was fine. However, on the inside, I was hurting and struggling. 

I did an excellent job of looking strong on the outside, but the truth of the matter was that I felt weak and defeated. 

I put on a happy face and smiled from ear to ear. I said all of the “right” things, such as… 

  • “Praise the Lord for He is good!”
  •  #tooblessedtobestressed

The reality was I was anxious and worried. 

The truth is, many of us…

  • Are worried
  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Feel like no one understands
  • Are fearful and insecure
  • Experience times when we don’t want to get out of bed 

What Do We Do When We Find Ourselves Battling with Anxiety?

Our last blog, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, discussed part of Philippians 4. I want to read it to you again. But first, let me remind you that the Apostle Paul wrote this letter as he was chained up to a Roman guard in prison. Inspired by the Spirit of God, Paul wrote this letter to his friends in Philippi to encourage them.  

Paul, waiting for his trial, did not know what the outcome would be. If anybody had the right to be anxious, it was Paul. 

  • “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”— Philippians 4:4-7 

Present your requests to God right now. Pray for God’s peace to wash over you. Thank him for guarding your heart and mind in Christ.

What Is Anxiety?

I have described anxiety as something unique for every person and very complicated. Why? Because anxiety can be…

  • Physiological
  • Situational
  • Emotional 

Anxiety is certainly a spiritual battle. And using prayer for anxiety is a biblical approach that God invites us to take. 

But we may also seek professional help through counseling. We may need medical help or to change our diets. 

Let’s focus on the spiritual side of things. There is spiritual medicine, if you will, that can help you deal with your anxiety.  

Woman alone and depressed, using prayer for anxiety.

So, what is anxiety? 

Have you ever set your alarm on your phone the night before an important meeting, and you hit snooze when it went off? Or at least that’s what you thought. In reality, you turned it off and fell back to sleep. 

You wake up instinctively 20 minutes past the time you were supposed to wake up? 

That is stress, stress that causes anxiety. 

Anxiety is the alarm that goes off, telling you it is time to pray.  

Anxiety is the signal, the alert, the sound that something is NOT right. And it would be wise not to hit the mental snooze button. Don’t ignore it. 

Anxiety is an indicator that lets you know that it is time to reach out to Jesus in prayer! Using prayer for anxiety is essential. If it’s big enough to worry about, then it’s big enough to pray about. 

Remember, do not be anxious about anything, but take your requests to God in every situation. 

  • If you’re anxious about a doctor’s appointment, pray about it. 
  • If you’re worried about a decision you have to make, pray about it. 
  • If you’re anxious about finding your soul mate, pray about it. 
  • If you’re worried about your marriage, pray about it. 
  • If you’re anxious about your kids going back to school, pray about it. 
  • If you’re worried about how you’re going to pay next month’s rent, pray about it. 

If it’s on your mind, then it is in God’s heart. 

We need to take our requests to God, using prayer for anxiety.

Using Prayer for Anxiety (He Wants to Hear from You) 

I know praying can be intimidating. I remember being around a pastor in my first ministry job who was a prayer ninja! Whenever we gathered in prayer, we would ask him to lead. 

We all felt like God was upstairs smiling from ear to ear, saying, “Now that’s how you pray!” 

How to Use Prayer for Anxiety

Listen again to what the scripture says. Paul gives us a path. 

  1. “Pray about everything.” God cares about every detail in your life. 
  2. “Present your requests to God.” Let God know what is on your mind. 

In other words, let your needs be known. 

How do we do that? You talk to God. You don’t have to speak in code or in a scripted, formal way. 

Talk to him in your own way. 

  • You can ask him.
  • You can sing to him.
  • You can write your prayer request to him
  • You can shout with joy or anger. 

He can handle your temper tantrum. God, your Heavenly Father, loves it when you need him. He loves it when you come to Him and let your needs be known. 

Peter is another person that we read about in the Bible who probably struggled with anxiety. This is what he said to do when we are anxious…

  • “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:6- 7

So, we need to humble ourselves and pray. 

I have been very vulnerable and talked about my struggle with anxiety. I battled with anxiety for 19 years, and I finally got help…

  1. From God 
  2. From counseling 
  3. From my doctor 

Tithing Your Time 

I, like many of you, am a tither. Giving is a spiritual discipline that my wife and I believe honors God since he owns everything. Everything that God gives us, we give back the first 10% of it.

The Bible says that He blesses the rest and pours blessings upon us in many ways. So for the last 9 years of our marriage, my wife and I believed that if we gave 10% of everything we have, He would bless the rest. I heard Pastor Craig teach on this exact principle but applied it to his prayer time. 

He said that he didn’t have a lot of time to spend in prayer. Many of you can probably relate. Your alarm goes off in the morning, and you’re off to the races. Every minute of your day counts. 

Recently, Pastor Craig said that he is now tithing time in prayer. What does that mean?

  • When he is working longer hours, he prays longer. 
  • Whenever he feels like he doesn’t have the time, believing that if he prepares his heart, God will help prepare the message. 

What a beautiful shift in perspective! Whenever you feel that you don’t have time, invest time in prayer. And God will help you. He will take care of your day. 

You see, if we invest more time praying rather than working harder, God will bless us! Rather than pushing your way through it, I encourage you to be using prayer for anxiety.

We need to tithe our time and trust that God will be our provision. 

It is time to seek God in prayer. 

Remember our scripture. Peter said, “… humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time.” 

Remember,  Peter was the one who was in the boat with the other disciples. He got out to walk on water toward Jesus.

While Peter walked on water, he saw the wind and the waves. All of a sudden, anxiety took over. He took his eyes off of Jesus and began to sink…

And what did Jesus do? 

Jesus reached out his hand and lifted Peter up in due time! 

  • “… humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time.”

When you go before God, using prayer for anxiety, you will be lifted up in due time. 

If you feel as if you’re sinking, perhaps the problem isn’t that you’re sinking. The problem may be that you’re NOT reaching out to grab Jesus’ hand, which is right there ready to grab you. 

If you reach out to Him, He will lift you up in due time. Are your hands lifted so he can grab you?

What do lifted hands typically mean?  They either represent victory or surrender. 

The minute we lift our hands up to Jesus, both victory and surrender happen at the same time. 

When we SURRENDER, we also experience VICTORY. We have an encounter with the God who is with us and cares for us, comforting us, and strengthening us. 

Ending the Cycle Using Prayer for Anxiety

If you’re battling with anxiety, there is a cycle.

The cycle is…

1. Feeling anxious (angst, a weight on your shoulders, worry) 

2. Attempting to control (you say things such as, “I’ll make this happen, I’ll fix the problem.”) 

3. Fearing a loss of control (the more you fear losing control, the more you try to control)

4. Attempting to control again (adds more anxiety to our situation) 

So what do we need to do? We need to break the cycle. How do we do that? 

We need to embrace God’s truth and recognize that we don’t have any control or the power to fix everyone or anyone. We must make a decision, using prayer for anxiety. 

We can’t fix people or things, but we can surrender. 

  • Medicine won’t always fix it. 
  • Counseling won’t always fix it. 
  • Changing circumstances won’t always fix it. 

But we can surrender everything to our God. We can take anything to Him. He wants to lift us up! 

Right now, I want you to release, to throw, to cast, and to let go of everything. 

Whatever burden you have, whatever is weighing you down, whatever you are anxious about… 

  • The future
  • Your kids
  • Your job
  • Your community 
  • Your health
  • Your finances
  • Your marriage
  • Your relationship
  • Your aging parents

If you are worried that you can’t keep up with your demands, remember that anxiety is an alarm, alerting you that it is time to pray.

Read this prayer with your loved ones or by yourself.  

“Lord Jesus, we humbly come before you. We cry out to you with all of our being, with all of our heart. God, we come to you brokenhearted and crushed in spirit crying out to you, O God. 

We come to you overwhelmed, drained of strength, with our despair, shattered dreams, goals unmet, admitting that we are weak. This is too much to handle. We are giving it to you, Lord.

Some of us are struggling with grief, missing a loved one. Some of us are worried about our finances, some of us are struggling with loneliness, some of us are grieving because our former world we lived in is gone. So much change has occurred and thrusted us into a new world.

I’m acknowledging that you are the only one who can take it. I’m trusting you to hold me, to love me, to fix me. I’m relying on your strength, as I stop pretending that everything is alright, that I’ve got everything under control. My weakness is no surprise to you, Lord. Here it is, here I give it to you.

We give you our doubt, our fears, our worries, our anxiousness, our grief. We know that nothing can hinder your plans, your love, and you never fail. We thank you that you hear us. And even sometimes, when we don’t get the result that we want, we trust in you, God. We worship you and praise you, Jesus. 

We give you all the praise and glory. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen!”