“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ― Erma Bombeck
I’ve been reminded of this saying so often in my life I must mumble it in my sleep. Worry – the all consuming, life changing, body morphing, confidence destroying part of our thoughts that causes absolutely nothing to change. At all.
Yet there it is. I’ve struggled with it in my life, only to look back and think, “What was I worried about…?” Even things that I worried on that did happened ended up out of my control anyway.
In Philippians, Paul encourages us not to “worry about anything, instead, pray about everything.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT) And knowing that God is omniscient (all-knowing), I can’t help but wonder why we bother to pray at all. If God knows the outcome of our lives, the choices we make, the path we will wander down – what good does prayer do?
First and foremost, prayer directs our thoughts to heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. We see Jesus in the Gospels pray and the only reason that explains why he must is that he needed to direct his thoughts from earth to heaven. We see Paul commend us to do this in Colossians 3:2.
Prayer causes us to humble ourselves. We begin to find the things we think we have control of, or perhaps will have control of if we worry enough, are completely in God’s hands. That we are His children, therefore we are also in His perfect timing and will.
Prayer reminds us to give thanks. We are so busy dwelling on what we don’t have, what we still need, what has gone wrong, that the many blessings poured on us are often lost. Coming to God in prayer gives us a chance to simply breathe a “Thank you.”
Perhaps a little known part of prayer is the way it can change the constant onslaught of positive thinking we hear time and time again to perspective thinking. Positive thinking too often focuses on us; on our ability to change our thought process to an ideal or outcome we would like to have. It can act as a buffer in facing reality. Perspective thinking takes that focus to Jesus, letting His Word be our mind’s guide. Prayer focuses us again on how any situation, any outcome can be used for the glory of God. Not only the ones we wanted or think equaled happiness.
So while prayer isn’t a way to get what you want, or to become a more “positive” thinker, it’s part of our journey as Christians to draw closer to our Savior. It lets us have that time with Him and start to let go of our worries and begin to pray. Each time a fearful thought enters our minds.