Anger is in the air. It’s in our political climate, religions, the media, and social media. Mean speech, injustice, inequality in pay and opportunities, prejudice in all of its forms, and let’s not forget anger about loss. The loss of relationships, loved ones, health… Yeah, there’s a lot to be angry about! But you can’t let anger consume you like a wild fire.
It’s Okay to Be Angry
We were created in God’s image. God gets angry too. Just read the Old Testament. Then there’s Jesus.
Portraits of Jesus usually depict little children sitting on his lap, or little lambs resting in his arms. But his power and presence was more commanding than those pictures show.
John’s Gospel tells of Jesus acting out his anger by making a whip of cords and driving the sheep, dogs, cattle, and money changers out of the temple. Then he poured out all of the coins and overturned all of the tables, shouting, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
By the way, the follow-up to that story is in Matthew’s Gospel. After the anger flare up, the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them.
The Right Kind of Anger
There is a wonderful quote from Aristotle that says:
“Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not easy.”
Anger can be bottled up inside. If not expressed, it can literally make you sick.
I recently lost one of my closest friends. He died suddenly at the age of 53. I wasn’t angry about his death, but I was angry about a person who showed up at his wake.
Ten years prior, I met a woman through a business venture. My friend who died had been a professional athlete and personal trainer. I suspected this woman worked out and asked her if she was using a personal trainer. She had been seeing my friend but stopped. What followed was a character assassination of how incompetent he was and what idiot he was. Stunned, I sat there in silence.
Thankfully, the business venture didn’t go anywhere, because as more of her character was revealed, I knew I didn’t want to be associated with her.
The wake was packed. From across the room comes “her.” She greets me with a look of total surprise and says, “I didn’t know that you knew Rik.” I told her that he was one of my closest friends and had known him for 10 years.
The next day she posted on his Facebook page how much he meant to her. I wanted to post the truth and add – You big fat liar! Well, I didn’t. But I got so angry over this that it caused a migraine headache. Prayer was my outlet for peace.
If you are always angry, that is a sign that something more is going on.
Anger not dealt with is a ticking time bomb ready to explode. Say this prayer. Get your anger out in a positive and productive way. Write it out. Talk to someone you can trust. Don’t let anger eat you up like a cancer and affect those around you.
A Prayer to Deal with Anger
I am blinded by anger.
I feel nothing but rage.
It is like a fire that is all-consuming, a wildfire destroying everything in its path.
Please put out this fire!
Shower your love and peace over me and quench this fury inside of me.
Remove this blindness.
Help me to see and understand the spark that ignited this fury.
Help me to seek the truth.
Was it shame, was it blame, or was it righteous anger?
Give me the courage to respond in a spirit of truth and love in this situation.
Help me to use this anger in a positive way.
Renew a spirit of peace within me.
When anger blurs my vision, help me to trust that your love and peace will always see me through.
Holding onto hurt, anger, resentment, shame, and the past will weigh you down. It will cause disease in your body and dis-ease in your life and relationships. Meditation is a powerful way to relieve this hurt by letting go. Want help? Here is cut number 5, the Letting Go Meditation from the Let it Go CD. I’ll send you three additional emails to help you let go step-by-step.
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Please help me to dwell on the good and the positive in my life. I know that it is You who examines our hearts. Search the inner depths of my heart and expose anything that is not of You so I can be set free of it.
Lord, where I have directed anger toward others in my life or held anger inside of me, I confess that as sin and ask You to take this burden of anger away from my soul. Heal any wounds that I have inflicted, through my words and actions, in others and myself. Help me to speak sweet words of healing, and to bring Your restoration to every situation where it is needed, for I know that pleases You.
Thank You, Lord, that You will redeem my soul in peace from the battle that is against me. I believe that You, the God of peace will crush the enemy under my feet. Help me to depart from thoughts of anger and bouts with depression; help me to seek peace and actively pursue it. Help me to live righteously because I know there is a connection between the presence of Your Holy Spirit and the fruits of self-control, peace, and joy. Thank You that You will take away all anger in me and keep me in perfect peace, because my mind is fixed on You Father. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
I once practiced a simple prayer exercise with friends to release the pain we had suffered together. We imagined writing down on a sheet of paper all the hurtful words and actions others had aimed at us. Then, in our minds’ eyes, we folded that page into a tiny paper boat such as a child might make. Then we lowered that boat onto the surface of a stream and watched the current carry away all that had been said and done against us. It was a helpful exercise, a prayer of release.
Some things are easier than others to let go, of course. Some things require great effort—and prayer—before we can be free of them. But that “paper sailboat” exercise can be adapted to any number of situations, such as the following:
1) Prayer to release anger, resentment and bitterness
God, hear me and answer me. You know I am troubled by thoughts and feelings of anger, resentment and bitterness. You also know why. And You know how deep the hurt goes and how long I have lived with it. But I don’t want to live with it any longer. I don’t want to be an angry, resentful and bitter person. With Your help, I release my anger into Your hands. I surrender my resentment. I let go of my bitterness. Help me to keep letting go and release these toxic emotions as often as they try to return.
2) Prayer to release a loved one
Lord God, I release ______ into your care. You know all my love and concern for (him/her). I know that You share that love and concern, so I release (him/her) into Your hands. Help me to find healthy and helpful ways to love and care and pray for (him/her), even as I learn to trust You to see all I cannot see and do what I cannot do.
3) Prayer to release fear
Father, I give my fear to You. I have been crippled and poisoned by fear for too long. I reject it. I release it. I choose faith instead of fear, believing in Your good plans for me. I choose love instead of fear, trusting that Your “perfect love” will cast out all fear (1 John 4:18). I choose Your light and truth instead of fear, accepting Your Word, which says I “need not fear terror that stalks in the night, the arrow that flies in the day, plague that strikes in the darkness, or calamity that destroys at noon,” because you are with me (Psalm 91:5-6, ISV).
4) Prayer to release the illusion of control
Mighty God, for too long I have wanted to be in control, tried to be in control and cherished the illusion that I am in control. I release myself and my illusions into Your hands. By Your grace, I surrender my need to feel in control, and embrace the truth that You are in control and that I can control only my inner life and not my outward circumstances—and certainly not other people. Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot control, courage to change the few things I can (my thoughts and actions) and wisdom to know the difference.
5) Prayer to release an attitude of victimhood
Lord, with Your help, I release all the negative thoughts, feelings and impressions that lead to an attitude of victimhood in my life. I turn from it. I refuse to be a victim any longer. I choose to rely and live on the truth of Your Word that says I am more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) rather than a victim, through the One who loves me and gave Himself for me. Let me live a victorious life from this moment on instead of entertaining any thoughts of victimhood.
6) Prayer to release dependency
Father, I repent and renounce and release the dependency by which I’ve lived until now. Whatever the roots—self-doubt, self-hatred, self-loathing, etc.—I release the sense that I need anything or anyone but You and Your truth to get me through the day and through this life. Remind me, moment by moment, that my God will meet all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
7) Prayer to release shame
God, Your Word says there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set free” (Romans 8:1, NIV). I agree with Your Word and so release all the shame I have felt because of the lies I’ve believed about myself. I choose to believe what You say about me and not what others say—not even what I have said about myself. I accept that I am Your “work of art,” “created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV) and trust You to help me, moment by moment, to live in that reality.
If it helps, any of these prayers can be written (mentally or physically) on a little paper sailboat that is then released onto the surface of a flowing stream—an exercise that can be repeated as needed, until release becomes reality.
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
1 Timothy 2:8
Anger becomes a real trap, even for Christians. When we try to settle differences angrily, we land in big trouble, affecting and even destroying a whole congregation.
One solution to anger is prayer. It’s hard to stay angry with someone you pray for, even if that person continues to irritate you.
As God’s Spirit works in your heart, you will give that person a second, a third, or even a hundred and third chance.
In Jesus, unrighteous anger cannot linger. Amen