How To Pray When You’re Feeling Anxious [2]

Friday 20th November 2020 Devotion
Scripture:- Philippians 4:4-23
Topic:- How To Pray When You’re Feeling Anxious [2]
Text:- Philippians 4:6

4. Biblical Examples Of Anxiety:
Now, to the topic at hand. Most experience anxiety from time to time, some of it enduring, some acute and at times overwhelming.
Here are examples from Hannah, Hezekiah, the Publican Tax Collector, blind Bartimaeus, and Jesus in Gethsemane.
a. Hannah: We know that for years, her annual trip to the Tabernacle was fraught with anxiety.
For her husband’s rival wife deliberately chose these occasions to provoke Hannah, who was childless in spite of her longing for children.
Whether she had prayed this prayer before or not is unstated, though it seems likely she had.
She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” See 1 Samuel 1:10-11.
Here is a prayer offered in bitterness and distress, and as she told Eli, reflective of “great anxiety and vexation.” See 1 Samuel 1:16.
Not a light, momentary worry, but an enduring great anxiety. It certainly made for a good and acceptable prayer, and God answered that prayer.
b. Hezekiah: He had just received notice of imminent assault by Sennacherib, King of Assyria.
Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it.
And Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord.
And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the Living God.
Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone.
Therefore they were destroyed. So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You, O Lord, are God alone.” See 2 Kings 19:14–19.
The situation for Jerusalem was dire, and the terms offered by Sennacherib were ungenerous.
Hezekiah was acutely aware of the pending disaster. His response? To afflict himself and, in humility, take the problem to the only One who could be of any help, and appeal to him to act in a manner which would rebuke the arrogant Sennacherib while demonstrating for all the world to see that the God of Israel was “God alone,” able to save and inclined to do so.
Anxiety? I’m sure; and it gave focus to this good king’s attitude and actions as well as fitting words to his prayer.
Anxiety may misdirect us, or, properly grasped, may point us to the right path.
c. Returning to the Temple and the figure contrasting to the Pharisee: the tax collector.
What was this outcast even doing in a place as holy as God’s temple? Repenting, it appears. His prayer, with which we may be overly familiar, was simple, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’’ See Luke 18:13.
He stood apart so as not to be conspicuous, and unlike the Pharisee, whom we may assume to have spoken so loudly that everyone could hear him (Matthew 6), did not even lift up his eyes; so presumably, not his voice.
Here is a picture of abject humility and a sense of sin, surely an anxious condition!
But, it is thankfully what repentance looks like, because we know, “this man went down to his house justified.” See Luke 18:14.
Anxiety? Certainly, but of the best kind—that which drives us to God in spite of our sins, and which is associated with repentance.
d. And we know that Jesus welcomed those who were anxious for their sins, to the disgust of the Pharisees, who inadvertently gave the most succinct summaries of the gospel ever voiced, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” See Luke 15:2.
Thanks be to God! So, anxiety for sin is a good thing if it leads to repentance. It should be a sure guide to our prayers to recall the man who went home justified in spite of the burden he brought to the Temple.
e. Another instance of anxiety in prayer was the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, dependent upon the crowd to tell him what was going on.
He had learned enough to know that Jesus was about to pass by.
Unlike the crowd, he was unable to navigate by sight and follow Jesus until he finally caught up with him, or to press through the crowd like the woman with the hemorrhage.
This was his big opportunity, and was it likely to come again? Bartimaeus was taking no chances.
He could not see, but he could make himself heard over the tumult of the crowd.
Evidently he did so in a manner which offended those around him who told him, effectively, Shut up, you!
His prayer continued loudly and repeatedly, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” See Mark 10:46-52.
But, once he was noticed by Jesus, even the crowd became friendly and told him, “Take heart!”
This man, fearful and anxious about missing Jesus during his visit to Jericho, voiced his anxiety in the hope that he would be heard.
Having been heard and summoned, he found an invitation to tell Jesus what he wanted, and received of Him what he asked.
f. Finally, the man of sorrows in Gethsemane. In the face of the most severe trial any man has ever endured—and one different in both purpose and intensity from anything anyone else has suffered—the Son of Man experienced what we may construe to be the most severe anxiety ever known to mankind.
He was “sorrowful and troubled.” See Matthew 26:37.
Is not that an understatement? In His own words, Jesus was “very sorrowful, even to death.” See Matthew 26:38.
Yes, we can ourselves be sorrowful, and heartbreak can indeed kill, though uncommonly.
But, His sorrow was leading to an intentional and necessary death.
Yet, He prayed. He asked His Father if there might not be some alternative path which would yet be in keeping with the Father’s will.
He prayed three times, and finding that there was no other way, resigned Himself to the one prayer which we can always pray and know that it must and will be answered. He prayed, “Your will be done.” See Matthew 26:42.
How simple a prayer and yet how difficult to pray it when we suspect or know that his will entails that which we would gladly avoid.
But, Jesus’s concluding prayer before His arrest was of acceptance and resignation to what was so clearly revealed to be the Father’s will.
We are not always given to know what that will is in our own suffering, though we may suspect and fear what lies ahead.
But this prayer is fitting for us all in all of our suffering, anxiety, and sorrow.
It is too brief to forget, but too weighty to say sincerely and earnestly without submission to a will better than our own.
So, how should we pray in the face of anxiety, whether that anxiety is grounded in an all-too-certain knowledge of what is upon us and lies ahead, or in an overwhelming uncertainty of what is to come?

Prayer Point:- Oh Lord God, give me power of prayer, and to pray through in place of being anxious henceforth by fire, in the name of Jesus Christ.

Happy Weekend!

Pastor Timothy Ogundele-Jesu

Pastor Timothy Ogundele-Jesu

Pastor Tim Ogundele_Jesu is a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and an apostle by the grace of God. He has been used by God prominently in the area of salvation, healing, blessing, and especially deliverance.

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