A Prayer to Stop Worrying
By Rick Warren
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT, second edition).
It takes more than willpower to stop worrying. You already know that, because you’ve already tried it. You’ve thought, “I shouldn’t worry about this,” and yet you just keep on worrying about it.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:32, “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things” (MSG). If you don’t have a relationship with God, you have every reason to worry. You’ve got to get to know God! As a believer, you have a heavenly Father who has promised to take care of you. You are God’s child, and children get special privileges. When you worry, God says, “You’re my child. Why are you acting like an orphan?”
Matthew 6:31-33 says, “Don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing …. Your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to” (TLB). Any time you take God out of the center of your life and put anything else there — no matter how good it is — you’re going to worry.
The Bible says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NCV). If you’re worrying about tomorrow, you can’t enjoy today. You miss today’s blessings. It’s OK to plan for tomorrow, but you have to live for today. Also, when you’re always worried about tomorrow, the future gets overwhelming. But God will give you the grace and strength you need when you get there. Right now, you only need enough power for today.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT, second edition). How do you do that? One way is to memorize God’s promises in the Bible. They’re like an insurance policy for believers. When you know something’s covered, you don’t worry about it anymore. Another way is to pray. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a lot less to worry about.
Pray this prayer today: “Dear Father, I admit that I often forget that you are with me. I often forget what you’re like. Would you please forgive me for that? I need to get to know you better. I need to get to know your Word and your promises better. Help me to put you first in every area of my life. Help me to live one day at a time. Help me to not worry about tomorrow but instead focus on what you’re doing in my life right now. I want to trust in your promise to take care of every one of my needs — financial, relational, physical, social, spiritual, and emotional. Help me to trust you more and worry less. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Editor’s Note: Content taken from the Daily Hope with Rick Warren devotional, “4 Steps to Stop Worry,” written by Rick Warren. You can read that piece in full here. All rights reserved.
Earlier this week, MizFit had a post about worrying, that she discussed as “praying for what we don’t want.” She wrote about taking action when you can take action, and letting go of the fear if you can’t. As usual, I found her post thought-provoking, and here I am days later, still thinking about it.
I have had periods in my life when anxiety had a tight grip on me, and I took comfort in Matthew 6:26:
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
This passage speaks to me as why I don’t need to worry: God will take care of me.
This morning as I was listening to the Morning Prayer podcast, a passage towards the end of Psalm 33 caught my attention:
No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
This passage gives me another reason not to worry: it won’t do any good. I am powerless against so many things.
Matthew 6:27 also reminds me of the uselessness of worrying:
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
A Congregational Prayer written in response to the above passage.
Dear Father God,
Before Creation you spoke. You spoke into the void and there was. You spoke and there was light, darkness; waters, land and sky; the plants; the sun, moon and stars; the animals on land, fish in the sea and birds in the sky; and you made us. As the hymn says, “Father long before creation, you had chosen us in love. And that love, so deep, so moving, draws us close to Christ above.” And that love “will keep us, firmly fixed in Christ alone.”
And then you God, Creator God, spoke to us and you said to us: Do not worry. You are mine. Lay all of your burdens down at my feet. Do not focus on the worries of tomorrow. I love you. Give me your burdens, sorrows; your tiredness and loneliness and I will give you rest. Likewise bring me your joys, your laughter and know that all that is good comes from me.
You said, know that in both the sadness and the joys, no matter the results of our human choices – I have a plan for you. And it is a good plan. And I will work through this world that has been thoroughly twisted through sin. I will work through my Creation, and through you. I will work out my plan for righteousness and you will know that I am God. You are mine.
God, how do we respond? Are we able to keep the sheer enormousness of that in our minds as we live our daily lives? Do we bring it all to you? Are the words of our mouths, the mediations of our minds pleasing to you?
No! God, we come to you in confession, speaking what you already know. We do not honour you every day. We do not live lives that are fully transformed. We do not remember you in our activities, speak of you in our conversations, and determine our actions based on your teachings to us.
Lord, though undeserved by our actions yet granted to us in grace through death on the cross, we bring before you our concerns and our requests.
Lord, we think of many in this congregation who have lived with a cancer diagnosis and gone through the treatment process. We pray for those who carry the ongoing fears of cancer, those who carry the grief of loss as a result of cancer, and those who love people carrying these fears. Be with them all.
Lord, we think of many in this congregation who live daily with other ongoing diagnosis. Be they of hurt heart, of hurt mind, of aching and worn body and so much more. Help us all to lay these burdens down at your feet and accept the rest and peace that are yours that you freely want to give. And when we pick them back up, help us to lay them back down again, and again.
We bring before you our joys! Our church year has started again and our programs are starting up. We bring you such thanks for our volunteers. We bring you thanks for the participants. We bring you thanks for the work that has gone into creating these programs.
We bring before you thanks for those in our congregation who work quietly in ministry. Like those organizing large events like the Bazaar and the Costume Party. We bring before you thanks for the fellowship that happens at our Soup Sundays. We bring before you thanks for the work of our committees. We thank you for our Education and Discipleship Committee, the Campaign Glory Committee, the Board of Stewards, the Worship Committee, and the other committees that my unprepared mind cannot remember.
We bring before you thanks for our Elders and Deacons, our Pastor, Custodian and Church Secretary. We bring them before you in prayer too. We receive the results of their service, often with too much questioning and not enough thanks. Lord, may we hold them up in our prayers. Remember to speak the thanks that we have doubly and bring our concerns and cares to you first. Help us to grant these appointed servants with the same grace that you extend to us.
We bring before you our brothers and sisters in Christ outside the walls of this Sanctuary. May we remember the needs of Your Church. We here are only a tiny portion of those you chose long before Creation.
Lord we bring before you your creation. You created an amazing world that has been so thoroughly tainted by sin and destruction. It is easy to see both the effects of sin, but also how truly amazing you created this world. We thank you that we can place our worries about our world in your hands and then pick up the work of being your agents of change and transformation without worry. Help us as we do this through our daily work and activities. May we honour you in what we do.
Lord, this is but a few of our prayers. There are words that haven’t been spoken. Needs that we can rely on the Holy Spirit to advocate for us on our behalf. For you have provided for us in this need too.
Father God, you are a good, good father. You have chosen us and we have responded.
By your grace, through the advocacy of the cross, hear our prayers, Lord, hear our prayers.