Prayers to calm anger

I am in need of prayers. I am separated from someone who I love dearly and have an infant with. I left him because of his anger, aggressive behavior and alcohol and drug addictions. I miss him more than life but want him to change for himself and for our child. He blames me for all of his problems because he lacks the insight to look deep within himself. I want him to have a moment of clarity and to be able to self-reflect and realize what he has done and how much pain he has caused me. I need prayers for this person to kill the temptations in their life and bring love into their heart. Help them to quit being so selfish and to change.

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prayers to calm anger

About a week ago, I received an email from a reader. She saw my post on overcoming disappointment, and she asked if I could help her. She is suffering in an unbearably unjust situation, and she is angry and resentful at the person causing it.

I can’t share her whole story, but the details are unimportant. Your anger and resentment are as real and honest and justified as hers are. They’re understandable.

And she’s looking for answers, just like you are.

I prayed about this woman and her family, and I prayed for you. I prayed that God would give me the words to help both of you.

My therapist says that anger is always masking a more vulnerable emotion. I think it’s helpful to look at that more vulnerable emotion and to deal with that, but you can come back to that later. For now, let’s just talk about the anger and resentment you’re feeling.

12 Bible Verses & 5 Steps to Overcoming Anger and Resentment

Concrete steps make sense to me. Give me a numbered list, and I’m a happy camper. So I created a numbered list for you.

Following the steps isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. The steps are where the real work lies. I am praying that you are challenged by these steps, and that you find a way to get through them all.

  1. Control your temper. (Let’s start right away with the hard stuff!)

When people mistreat us and there’s nothing we can do about it, we get angry. It isn’t fair. Parents see it in their young children who are constantly on the lookout to make sure everything is fair.

The gut reaction to get angry in the face of unfairness never really goes away. God’s Word says that we are to control our tempers, even in the face of unfairness.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. -Proverbs 19:11

Earn respect. What if the respect of men isn’t what you’re after?

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. -James 1:19-20

The righteousness God desires. Ouch. We may be able to brush off the respect of men, but the righteousness of God doesn’t go away so easily.

Do to others as you would like them to do to you. -Luke 6:31

When we overlook wrongs, we treat others the way we want to be treated. But what if the wrong is something really big? What if we can’t just get over it?

We still have choices. If the wrong is something monumental – abuse, neglect, criminal – then DO SOMETHING. Don’t just get angry, but take action. Enlist the help of someone who can stop it.

The reader who wrote to me has endured her situation for five months. Certainly, she has been slow to anger. But now, she is angry.

What next?

2. Don’t let your anger control you. God recognizes that sometimes, we do get angry. Often, we need to get angry to remedy a situation or to spur us on to action.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. -Psalm 4:4

He is saying to think about your situation, and see if it merits getting angry.

Are you saying something like, “YES! It does! I have a right to be angry. Is that wrong?”

Being angry isn’t a sin, but being controlled by anger is a sin.

And don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. -Ephesians 4:26-27

So you’re angry. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. Find a way to work out the anger, pray through the anger, move past the anger before you give the devil an in-road to your psyche.

Need a pick-me-up? Go do something kind for someone. Volunteer your time. Do good, forgetting about the person who’s made you angry for a while.

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. -Psalm 37:8

All scriptures are God-breathed, right? Every word is true. So what of this? Stop being angry?! How do you just stop?

3. You pray. Pray for yourself. Pray for the person who is making you angry. Pray for the situation. Pray that your heart will be softened and you’ll forgive.

People can’t change people. Only God can change people.

Right now, you need to be changed, and the person who’s hurt you needs to be changed. Give yourself permission to just focus on you for now. Ask God to change you and get rid of your anger despite the rotten situation you’re in.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. -Colossians 3:8, 12-13

You are holy and beloved, my friend. You are, and you deserve better than what this anger and resentment are doing to you.

4. Forgive. I said these steps weren’t going to be easy. Pray that you can forgive the person who’s making you angry. Pray it every day, every hour, every minute if you have to.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:31-32

It’s the Golden Rule again. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat the person who’s made you angry with the same tenderhearted kindness that you treat your kids with.

I heard once that holding unforgiveness in your heart is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness is toxic to your soul. It affects every part of your life, and it manifests in sickness, in tension, and in anger.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. -Luke 6:37

We are required to forgive as the Father has forgiven us. It is not optional – and it does not come easily.

5. Love. Forgiveness is one thing, but loving is another thing entirely. Loving your enemy – the very person who’s hurt you – is also required by scripture.

Not suggested, required.

The very thought makes me feel sick for you.

You don’t want to act in a loving way towards the person who’s hurt you. Not at all.

That’s where prayer comes in again. Pray that you’ll have compassion and kindness for that person. (And keep praying it until it happens.)

Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. -Luke 6:35

This passage goes on to say that even sinners are kind to those who love them, but it takes something special to be kind to an enemy.

You see, we don’t get to have vengeance. It’s not ours; it’s God’s alone. We are called to love God and love one another, the end.

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge;I will pay them back,”says the Lord.

Instead, If your enemies are hungry, feed them.

If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.In doing this, you will heapburning coals of shame on their heads.

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. -Romans 12:17-21

You see, Jesus didn’t just die for you, my righteous friend. He died for the person who’s hurt you, too. He loves both of you the same. It doesn’t seem fair (there’s a parable about that), but it is so.

Jesus died for both of you because you’re both sinners.

Different stories, different sins, same black marks.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Download these Bible verses on anger and resentment in a convenient black and white printable below. You can work on memorizing and meditating on them, one at a time.

If you need help with a system for memorizing verses, check out this post on our family’s memorization habit.

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© 2015 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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It may come as little surprise to those with a spiritual practice, but researchers have discovered that prayer has a calming effect, combating negative emotions and anger.

Emerging research suggests people who were provoked by insulting comments from a stranger showed less anger and aggression soon afterwards if they prayed for another person in the meantime.

The benefits of prayer identified in this study don’t rely on divine intervention: They probably occur because the act of praying changed the way people think about a negative situation, said social psychologist Dr. Brad Bushman, co-author of the study.

“People often turn to prayer when they’re feeling negative emotions, including anger,” he said. “We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally.”

The power of prayer also didn’t rely on people being particularly religious, or attending church regularly, Bushman emphasized. Results showed prayer helped calm people regardless of their religious affiliation, or how often they attended church services or prayed in daily life.

Bushman noted that the studies didn’t examine whether prayer had any effect on the people who were prayed for. The research focused entirely on those who do the praying.

Bushman said these are the first experimental studies to examine the effects of prayer on anger and aggression. He conducted the research with doctoral student Ryan Bremner of the University of Michigan and Dr. Sander Koole of VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The research appears online in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and will be published in a future print edition.

The project involved three separate studies. In the first study, 53 U.S. college students were told they would be participating in a series of experiments. First, they completed a questionnaire that measured their levels of anger, fatigue, depression, vigor, and tension.

They then wrote an essay about an event that made them feel very angry. Afterwards, they were told the essay would be given to a partner, whom they would never meet, for evaluation.

But, in reality, there was no partner and all the participants received the same negative, anger-inducing evaluation that included the statement: “This is one of the worst essays I have ever read!”

After angering the participants, the researchers had the students participate in another “study” in which they read a newspaper story about a student named Maureen with a rare form of cancer. Participants were asked to imagine how Maureen feels about what happened and how it affected her life.

Then, the participants were randomly assigned to either pray for Maureen for five minutes, or to simply think about her.

Afterwards, the researchers again measured the students’ levels of anger, fatigue, depression, vigor and tension.

As expected, self-reported levels of anger were higher among the participants after they were provoked. But those who prayed for Maureen reported being significantly less angry than those who simply thought about her.

Prayer had no effect on the other emotions measured in the study.

Bushman said that in this study, and in the second one, there was no prior requirement that the participants be Christian or even religious. However, nearly all the participants said they were Christian. Only one participant refused to pray, and he was not included in the study.

The researchers didn’t ask participants about the content of their prayers or thoughts because they didn’t want them to become suspicious about what the study was about, which might have contaminated the findings, Bushman said.

But the researchers did run several similar pilot studies in which they did ask participants about what they prayed or thought about. In those pilot studies, participants who prayed tended to plead for the target’s well-being.

Those who were asked to think about the target of prayers tended to express empathetic thoughts, saying they felt sad about the situation and felt compassion for those who were suffering.

The second study had a similar setup to the first. All the students wrote an essay, but half wrote about a topic that angered them and then received anger-inducing negative feedback, supposedly from their partner.

The other half wrote about a neutral subject and received positive feedback, which they thought was from their partner.

Participants were then asked to either pray or think about their partner for five minutes. (They were told this was for a study about how people form impressions about others, and that praying for or thinking about their partner would help them organize the information that they had already received about their partner in order to form a more valid impression.)

Finally, the participants completed a reaction-time task in which they competed with their unseen “partner.”

Afterwards, if participants won, they could blast their partner with noise through headphones, choosing how long and loud the blast would be.

Results showed that students who were provoked acted more aggressively than those who were not provoked – but only if they had been asked to simply think about their partner. Students who prayed for their partner did not act more aggressively than others, even after they had been provoked.

The third study took advantage of previous research that found that angry people tend to attribute events in their lives to the actions of other people, while those who aren’t angry more often attribute events to situations out of their control.

This study was done at a Dutch university, and all participants were required to be Christian because the Netherlands has a large proportion of atheists.

Half the participants were angered (similar to the methods in the first two studies), while the other half were not. They then spent five minutes praying for or thinking about a person they personally knew who could use some extra help or support.

Finally, they were asked to judge the likelihood of each of 10 life events. Half the events were described as caused by a person (you miss an important flight because of a careless cab driver). Angry people would be expected to think these kinds of events would be more likely.

The other events were described as the result of situational factors (you miss an important flight because of a flat tire).

Results showed that those who simply thought of another person were more likely to hold the anger-related appraisals of situations if they were provoked, compared to those who were not provoked.

But those who prayed were not more likely to hold the anger-related views, regardless of whether they were provoked or not.

“Praying undid the effects of provocation on how people viewed the likelihood of these situations,” Koole said.

While the three studies approached the issue in different ways, they all pointed to the personal benefits of prayer, Bushman said.

“The effects we found in these experiments were quite large, which suggests that prayer may really be an effective way to calm anger and aggression,” he said.

These results would only apply to the typical benevolent prayers that are advocated by most religions, Bushman said. Vengeful or hateful prayers, rather than changing how people view a negative situation, may actually fuel anger and aggression.

“When people are confronting their own anger, they may want to consider the old advice of praying for one’s enemies,” Bremner said.

“It may not benefit their enemies, but it may help them deal with the negative emotions.”

Source: Ohio State University

psychcentral.com

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