Prayer When Angry With a Loved One
God, I am so angry right now. I am disappointed with my ____________(spouse, child(-ren), boss, friend, pastor, etc.). Help me to not ignore this feeling. And, help me to name my anger in the context of this relationship, not suppressing it or pretending it’s not there. In Your holy name, Amen.
Prayer When Disappointed With a Family Member
O God of creation, I have been disappointed once again. My family member has betrayed my trust. I don’t think I can trust again. Help me speak to her/him soon and express that what happened angered me. I don’t like having conversations like this, so I need Your help. In God’s name, Amen.
Prayer When Grieving and Angry
Oh God, You know me. I am angry that ______ (name) has died. I know death comes unexpectedly or when anticipated, and I am angry right now because I long for this person. I have a hole in my heart. Hold me as I feel this. In Your comforting name, Amen.
Prayer When Hope Is Dashed
God of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am angry that what I had hoped for did not happen. I was so sure that You blessed this. I am lost right now. Teach me what to do. Hold me even as I am angry. Guide me to eventually pick up the pieces of what’s been broken. In Your name, Amen.
Prayer When an Employment Opportunity Evaporates
Dear God, I don’t think it’s fair that I did not get the job. I had prepared myself, had great interviews and got good feedback from the interviewers. Now, I’ve been told that someone else got the position! I am angry right now; it feels like I have to start all over. Show me how I can express this anger and not bottle it up inside. In Your name, Amen.
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How Prayer Helps
(When You’re Angry or Frustrated)
What to you do when you’re frustrated or angry? My frustration usually follows a path sort of like this:
- I think: “This isn’t fair.”
- I let my mind spiral out of control.
- I let my attitude go into the toilet.
- I spout off.
- I throw back the garbage that is thrown at me. (I get angry at the angry person. I get snippy with the person who hurt me with words.)
- I end up a stinking mess in my relationships and circumstances.
- I sulk around with a stinking attitude.
I’ve learned that following that frustration and anger script leads to no good. I’m not fun to be around, and I treat others horrible. It reflect God’s nature, and I usually feel worst not better.
As I’ve matured as a person and Christian I’ve learned a better way:
- Be quiet inside and out: Control my thoughts
- Stay out of it. I don’t have to join every fight that I’m invited to.
- Control my words. I can be the adult and hold it in.
- Turn to God.
What is Prayer?
- Prayer is talking to God.
- Prayer is having access to the Creator of the universe, and having open communication with Him. (If you’re not in the mood to pray there is one thing that can get you there fast. Look around and notice something amazing about creation. Look at the stars. Study your house plant. Be amazed by the way your fingers work.)
- Prayer is opening yourself up to listening to the God who created all, oversees all, and breaths life into every living creature. (He’s someone worth listening to!)
What you need to know about God when you pray:
- God is all-powerful.
- God is all-knowing.
- God has a good plan for your life.
- God loves you completely.
- God is fully capable of meeting each and every need you have … He often just does it in ways you don’t expect.
- God is fully capable in dealing with our stinking attitudes.
Of course we can know a lot about God, but we still do not know how to pray. Instead of suggesting quiet times or journals as the “answers” to effective prayer, we need to go deeper than that.
How to pray:
Pray with a pure heart.
I often pray both of these Scriptures. Through God’s Word, I ask Him to clean my heart. (Don’t be surprised if He points out areas the He wants to help you with!)
Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 51:10 NLT
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
As you seek a pure heart, repent of your sins. God will not listen if your heart and mind is full of sin. Ask God to give you a pure heart.
God’s Word says that once you ask for forgiveness it’s like those things never happened. They’re gone for good.
Pray with pure motives.
Why do you want God to answer your prayers?
If you WANT something because you’re being greedy, or for pleasure or ease … you probably won’t get it.
But if you are praying for God’s will than everything changes.
When you pray, are you praying according to the Bible: for others, for peace, for joy, for love? Are you praying to know God better? THESE are the prayers He loves to answer.
Pray with pure trust.
When you pray with trust you don’t have to handle it all on your own. We need to trust that God is listening to our prayers. We need to wait patiently, and know the God’s answers will come in God’s perfect time.
One Scripture that I turn to often is Psalm 37:7.
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act.”
Waiting patiently means believing that God loves you completely, and He will ALWAYS do what is best for you. When we allow frustration and anger to overwhelm us—and when we try to handle things with on our own—we end up with a stinking attitude in stinking circumstances.
Yet when we turn over our frustrations to God with a clean heart, pure motives, and pure trust, God will show up and change you from ways you can’t imagine … starting from the inside out! That’s something we can all look forward to!
Download the printable and keep nearby when you find yourself angry or frustrated!
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This article was co-authored by
Paul Chernyak, LPC
. Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.
There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
In this Article:Remaining CalmDe-escalating Someone’s AngerWorking Towards a SolutionKnowing When to LeaveCommunity Q&A20 References
Calming an angry person requires a lot of patience. When someone’s feeling heated up, hearing the words “calm down” may just make matters worse. Being a good listener and offering some good distractions can both help. However, when someone’s anger is explosive or unpredictable, walk away instead of attempting to use reason. If the angry person does not accept your apology, it is often best to give them some space and walk away.
Part 1 Remaining Calm
- Avoid a fight.
When someone else is at a boiling point, getting equally angry is only going to make matters worse. Focus on keeping yourself calm, or else the situation might quickly spiral into an argument. This is not to say you should act completely unemotional, but try not to let your own feelings get too heated.
- A way to remain neutral is to let go of your own ego and not take things personally. It can be natural to respond to an angry person by defending yourself or your reputation, but it’s important to remember that someone who is very angry cannot be reasoned with until they have calmed down.
- Try not to get defensive.
When someone’s so mad they can barely speak in a level tone, it’s easy to absorb that negativity and feel defensive. When you’re communicating with someone who is angry, realize that the anger is likely not about you.
Separate the person’s emotions from your own so you can be there for the person without feeling the anger is directed toward you.
- Stay in the present.
People who are angry will often bring up situations or conversations from the past, particularly if they are trying to draw you into their anger.
Try to counteract that by keeping them focused on the present situation and solving a solution to the current problem. Don’t let yourself get drawn in to feeling angry about past events.
- If the conversation seems to be drifting towards past events, try saying something like, “We can talk about that later. I think right now, we should focus on what is immediately upsetting you and finding a solution to that problem. Let’s take one thing at a time.”
- Stay calm and quiet.
If someone is yelling or venting, you can decide to let them vent to blow off steam, but the best thing for you to do is to remain quiet or to say nothing. If you do speak, keep a quiet level voice. If you remain quiet, try to keep a neutral facial expression and open body language. You remain in more control if you do not react to the “bait” of the person yelling.
- There is a difference between letting someone vent and being the victim of verbal abuse. If the person is berating you, calling you names, or directing unrelated anger towards you, you may want to make a statement such as, “I understand that you are frustrated and I would like to be here for you. But please do not take your anger out on me.”
Part 2 De-escalating Someone’s Anger
- Apologize if you were in the wrong.
If you did something to anger the person, maybe what they need is a heartfelt apology. Apologizing is not a sign of weakness. It shows that you care about the feelings of the other person.
Reflect on the situation to see if you did something wrong, and if you did, say you’re sorry. Sometimes that’s all a person needs to hear to feel better about what happened.
- If you don’t feel you were in the wrong, however, then don’t apologize just to calm the person down.
- An effective apology may be, “I’m very sorry that I spent the money you were saving for retirement on a time share in Hawaii. I don’t know what I was thinking, and I can understand why you are angry. Let’s work together to find a solution.”
- Don’t say “calm down.
” Someone who is really angry is being ruled by their emotions and is not accessing the rational part of their brain. Trying to use reason or making suggestions to “remain calm” or “be reasonable” are likely to fuel the fire and make the person feel
- Use good listening techniques.
When people are feeling emotional they want to know someone else understands. Really listen to the person talk. Look him or her in the eye, nod when appropriate, and ask questions to find out more. The act of conversing and feeling heard could help the person calm down.
- Of course, sometimes angry people don’t want to be asked questions, and they might feel so angry they don’t believe anyone can really understand. All you can do is try your best; if the person isn’t in the mood for a heart-to-heart, don’t force it.
- Validate the person’s feelings.
Everyone gets angry from time to time. Sometimes anger actually masks another emotion, like feeling hurt, embarrassed, or sad. Whatever the reason for the person’s anger, listen to them and respond by validating his feelings (without necessarily agreeing with them). You should also withhold judgment of the person, as judging will likely come through in your words or body language as a lack of support.
- An example of validating someone’s emotions is making statements like “that must be difficult” or “I understand how you could be frustrated.”
- Statements that are not as helpful include “you should let it go” or “I experienced the same thing and got over it.”
- Show empathy.
Empathy can take the form of understanding another’s perspective, feeling distress at the plight of another person, and being able to relate to the emotions of another.
Showing empathy towards someone who is angry may take the form of showing that you have been listening to him and know what he is saying.
- To empathize with someone who is angry, try paraphrasing the source of their anger back to them. You might say, “So, you are saying that you feel angry because you think you have to take on all of the household responsibilities alone.”
- You may be inclined to say, “I understand how you feel,” but know that this can sometimes make someone more angry. They may believe that no one really knows how they feel.
- Lighten the situation with humor.
You may have to read the situation or know the angry person fairly well to determine whether this approach will work. Humor can effectively fight anger because it changes the chemical processes in the body.
Making a joke or stopping and pointing out something funny in the situation and getting both of you laughing can diffuse the situation and could potentially snap the person out of his anger.
- Give the person some space.
Some people are talkers, and some people prefer to process their emotions alone. If the idea of talking it out just seems to make the person madder, give them some space and time instead.
Most people take at least 20 minutes to calm down from anger, but some may need even longer.
- If you think someone needs some time alone, try saying, “I understand that you are angry, but I don’t feel like I am helping you feel any better, and I think you may need a few minutes to yourself. I’ll be right here for you if or when you feel ready to talk.”
Part 3 Working Towards a Solution
- See if you can help the person make things better.
If the source of the anger is related to a solvable problem, maybe you can help. If the person is calm enough to listen to reason, offer solutions and help to lay out a plan that will correct the situation.
- In some cases, an angry person can’t be reasoned with in this way. Assess the situation and determine whether you should wait until the person has calmed down enough to listen to positive reasoning.
- Focus on the future.
It is important to focus on the present when processing feelings of anger, but you should try to get the person to focus on the future when finding a solution.
This can help the person think more reasonably and focus on the improved results from the solution instead of continuing to dwell in the anger of the past or present.
- Help the person accept that there may not be a solution.
Not every problem or situation that makes someone angry has a solution. If this is the case, it’s important to emphasize that the person needs to work through his emotions and move on.
Part 4 Knowing When to Leave
- Disengage if you cannot stay calm.
If the person is pushing your buttons or enticing you to feel angry, you should leave if possible. Becoming angry yourself will likely cause the situation to worsen, so leaving when you feel angry can prevent an escalation or fight.
- Recognize abuse.
Anger and abuse are not the same things. Anger is a normal human emotion that needs to be dealt with. Abuse is an unhealthy and potentially dangerous way of interacting with another. The following are strategies that indicate abuse, not anger:
- Physical intimidation (whether or not it leads to actual violence)
- Making you feel guilty
- Calling names or belittling
- Sexual control or coercion
- Get to safety if the situation turns violent.
If you’re dealing with a person who has anger management problems and you fear for your safety, leave right away and get to a safe place. Domestic abuse is an ongoing cycle, and if abuse happens once it’s likely to happen again. It’s very important for you to keep yourself and your family physically and emotionally safe.
In the US, the domestic abuse hotline is 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).Here are the signs that the situation might be abusive:
- You feel afraid of making the person angry
- The person humiliates you, criticizes you or puts you down
- The person has a violent and unpredictable temper
- The person blames you for his or her abusive behavior
- The person threatens to hurt you
Add New Question
What should I do If I apologize and the person rejects it?
Jessica B. Casey is a National Certified Counselor in Texas. She received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Sam Houston State University in 2014.
M.A, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
You have no control over whether or not the other person accepts your apology. What is important is that you had the courage and cared enough to apologize. Find pride in your own actions & let this person know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk about it.
How can I calm a friend who is agitated and angry about his workplace?
Jessica B. Casey is a National Certified Counselor in Texas. She received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Sam Houston State University in 2014.
M.A, Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Engage him on topics of his workplace and let him know that it safe to vent with you. Sometimes just explaining a situation and having another person validate the feelings associated with the situation is a calming factor in itself.
My brother gets angry very easily because he expects too much, what can I do to calm him down?
Try speaking to him when he is not angry, and ask him if it is really worth it. Speak in a firm voice, but don’t get too strict or you could worsen the situation.
How do I make amends with someone I have been fighting with for several days?
Talk to them. Admit where you are wrong., but do not expect them to apologize right away. They will do it in their own time when they are ready.
What should I do if my friend is angry with me because I am friends with someone she doesn’t like?
Give her some space. Don’t take it personally. You have every right to be friends with whoever you want to. She will likely get over it eventually. If it’s a more serious issue like this new friend of yours is really mean to your friend, you might have to choose between them.
I have been trying to mask my anger for several weeks against my brother. He lies in front my face and tells me that I have to owe him his childhood. What can I do?
Ask him what happened in the past to make him feel this way. You could be amazed that something happened in earlier years that went unaddressed and is a “burr under his saddle”. Tell him its ok to tell you what happened, and you will keep it between the 2 of you. Tell him you don’t understand and want to, so say “can you please say that in a different way? I really care about you, and want a good relationship”.
What if my parents fight and they both get super mad and they just start repeating what they have already said?
If you are young, then the best thing to do is to attempt to calm them. If the situation becomes violent, but you trust your parents, then you should walk in and make loud noises. That will do one of two things. One, they’ll stop fighting and look at you confused or two, they’ll get angry at you. If they do step one, reason with them and explain to them that you are here and don’t want to hear them fighting. If it’s step two, then call someone you trust. “My parents are fighting, what should I do?!” If you are a teen, then you can still calm them by doing the things above. If you feel in danger, don’t go near them but call the police.
What if my friend suddenly becomes angry at me even though I didn’t do anything?
Calmly ask why your friends is angry with you, and apologize if it turns out you did do something wrong. If the problem is not your fault, try to reason with them. If they won’t listen to you, just walk away and give them some space.
What if I’m in a hurry?
Tell the person that you understand they are mad, and ask if they can talk to you about it later. Be sure to explain that you want to talk about it when you have more time to correctly address the situation.
What do I do if an angry person scolds or criticizes me?
Just maintain your calm. When people see that this sort of behavior doesn’t elicit any reaction, they stop doing it and calm down.
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What do I do if someone is angry with me and falsely accusing me of something?
My husband is getting angry frequently for no reason. How can I help reduce his anger?
When my parents fight they usually try to draw me into it. I try to leave but they guilt me into staying. What do I say to them?
My father is unemployed so he fights with my mother how can I calm him?
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From time to time most of us encounter angry people. Some are out of control. Others are trying hard not to be verbally or physically abusive, but inside they are steaming over what they consider to be an injustice. It may be a neighbor who believes you have treated him/her unfairly. It may be a fellow worker who perceives that what you have done is wrong. It may be a mother-in-law or a brother-in-law, a father or a son, or a stranger.
Seven steps to dealing with an angry person:
- Listen. You get something of the person’s story and the heart of why he/she is angry. The best thing you can do for an angry person is to listen to his/her story. Having heard it, ask him/her to repeat it. Having heard it a second time, ask additional questions to clarify the situation. Listen at least three times before you give a response.
- Listen. He/she begins to see that you are taking him/her seriously, that you really want to understand what happened, and you are not condemning his/her anger.
- Listen. At this point the individual usually begins to calm down, as he/she senses that you are trying to understand him/her. If you respond to someone’s anger before you have thoroughly heard his/her story, you will not defuse the anger – you will compound it.
- Seek to understand the angry person’s plight. Put yourself in his/her shoes and try to view the world through his/her eyes. Ask yourself, Would I be angry in the same situation? Keep in mind that the angry person may not have all the facts, or is overlooking his/her own responsibility. Whether one’s interpretation of the situation is correct is not the issue at this point.
- Express your understanding. Don’t jump in and set the person straight on the facts, or defend your own actions. Put yourself in the angry person’s situation. If I were in your shoes and saw the situation as you see it, I would also be angry. This puts the angry person at ease. It tells them they are not weird for feeling angry. You have now removed the adversarial nature of the conversation.
- Share additional information that may shed light on the subject. Often the person who is angry does not have all the facts or is misinterpreting the facts. You do the person a great service when you share your perception of what happened. But if this is shared too early in the process, you will not be heard – and will find yourself in a heated argument with the angry person.
- Admit your part. If you realize you have genuinely wronged him/her intentionally or unintentionally, then it is time for you to admit the wrong and ask for forgiveness.
From The Other Side of Love by Gary Chapman, copyright (c) 1999. Used by permission of Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1-800-678-6928.
Gary Chapman, Ph.D., directs marriage seminars throughout the country and hosts the nationally syndicated radio broadcast A Growing Marriage. He is the author of The Five Love Languages, The Five Love Languages of Children, Hope for the Separated, and Five Signs of a Loving Family, among others. He and his wife, Karolyn, have two adult children.