Praying Instead

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor has respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.' And the Lord said, 'Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? Luke 18: 1-8 (NRSV)

"And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of Life?" Matthew 6: 27 (NRSV)

Deb Vellines lives in Missouri. She used to worry a lot, which produced feelings of fear, sadness, or confusion. So she decided to try to turn each worry into a prayer.

Sometimes a scripture verse came to mind when she prayed. When worried about something in the future, she prayed, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow....Each day had enough trouble of its own" (Matt. 6: 34, NIV). When she worried about a loved one, 1 John 5:14 helped her: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (NIV). When worried and confused about what to do, she remembered, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you" (Jas. 1: 5, NIV). Often, praying the scripture verse resulted in peace. When no verse came to mind, like the woman in today's reading who repeatedly appealed to the judge, Deb prayed about the same thing again and again.

Prayer can help keep our worries from resurfacing. If we practice, praying when we are worried can become a habit. Then, over time , our worried thoughts and negative feelings may decrease as God's peace increased. What scripture helps you in time of need? This one is from Philippians 4:6 (NIV): "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Prayer: Loving God, forgive us when we worry. Help us to trust that you can handle all our fears, in Jesus' name, amen.

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