“Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NASB)
Anxiety is a trademark of our culture, and it’s on the rise like never before. The number of people suffering from anxiety in America has increased 1200 percent since 1980! For people living with anxiety, every day is a battle of “What if” and “I can’t”. For Christians, even battling everyday worries can feel like a crisis.
“If I’m worried, where is my trust in God? Have I lost my faith?”
There’s a prayer within the Catholic tradition that goes, “Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin, and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
When I’m feeling particularly anxious, I need the encouragement of Isaiah’s words (“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God”) and this ancient prayer often runs through my head. Once, though, I heard a pastor preach that anxiety can be beneficial OR detrimental to our spirits. He differentiated between useful and useless anxiety.
Now I pray for God to take away the useless anxiety that ties my stomach in knots and makes me short of breath, not the anxiety that inspires courage before going into a church or social place alone, or the anxiety I feel when I know I have sin on my conscience that I need to confess.
In the battlefield that is Christian life, we are strongest when we allow God to take control of our anxieties and to strengthen us in our weakness.
Lord, deliver me from every evil and grant me Your peace today and every day. In Your mercy, keep me free from sin, and protect me from all useless anxiety as I wait in joyful hope for Your coming, my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Memorize this little prayer or write it on a slip of paper and keep it in your pocket as ammunition for those times when you feel like you’re fighting useless anxiety alone.
Is God speaking to you? Read this challenge: Is that You, God?
How often do you let God reassure you in your weakness, or fight your worries for you? What are you worried about today?