Recently, I was feeling particularly anxious about a situation in my life. It was one of those situations where, if it went well – then great! But if it went poorly, life as we know it, could change dramatically. My heart was beating faster, I had that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, I was generally agitated. My anxiety was on the rise and I could feel my body going into “fight or flight” mode. I also knew that these are not the feelings I’m supposed to be living in, as a child of the Lord, so I determined to find ways to pray that would help me overcome anxiety.
3 Prayers to Overcome Anxiety
There is nothing special about these 3 prayers, except that I have seen God work as a result of each prayer. I offer them knowing that when I am anxious, sometimes it helps to have a place to start. These simple prayers are that place to start – and see where God takes you as you trust Him.
1. The 4-word prayer that helped me overcome anxiety
The short prayer that I prayed was simply this: “Jesus, mercy and grace.”
This one has been my prayer for when there are no other words. My anxiety has risen to levels that make it almost impossible to function at times. The words “paralyzed by fear” are words I’ve lived. And in those times, these four words came to mind: “Jesus, mercy and grace.” I was begging for His mercy and grace in those moments. In my heart, I was asking Him to work in ways that I could not – opening eyes to see, and hearts to understand.
In those moments of my soul being utterly bare before the Lord, He answered. Grace and mercy were poured out in abundance, and while the prayer may not have been answered completely to my liking, they were answered according to God’s best plan. And in the end, isn’t that what we really want? God’s best?
2. Pray for every aspect of the situation that is causing you anxiety
Personally, a lot of my anxiety stems from wrong choices that someone made, and the consequences that have come as a result. When the situation grows tense again, I pray for the person. I pray that God gives grace where needed, and mercy even though it’s not deserved. I pray protection for the person’s job situation, and protection for the family involved.
I pray that God would show Himself faithful, that He would provide peace and comfort in ways that only He can. If there are more specifics of which I am aware, I pray for those – maybe health, relationships, mental clarity, general well-being. I ask the Lord for His hand to be at work in, around, and through the struggles.
This book has been a tremendous help in my journey.
3. Pray for myself.
Those anxious feelings – the anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach, the rapid heart rate, the agitation – those aren’t the feelings God wants us to have. He is the author of peace, the giver of every good gift. In Him there is hope, redemption and rest. And so as I pray for mercy and grace, as I pray for the situation at hand, I also pray for myself.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17
I acknowledge my feelings. “Lord, you know the anxiety that is rising up within me,” or, “Lord, you know the anger and grief that this is causing, the shame that the enemy wants to heap upon me.” Name your feelings – tell the Lord what it is, exactly, that you feel. He already knows it; He wants you to communicate with Him about it.
Then I start praying for my own heart: “Lord, would you fill me with peace? Where I feel shame, would you replace that with your love and keep my eyes fixed on you? Help me to walk away from these feelings of inadequacy, fear and frustration. In the name of Jesus, the enemy (Satan) MUST leave. He is no longer allowed to wreak havoc with my emotions. He authors confusion, but You, Lord, offer peace and hope, and I am your child.”
Those don’t have to be your exact words, any words will do – whatever is appropriate to your situation.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
These prayers can serve as your starting point when you are facing anxiety.
They are not the be-all, end-all of anxiety prayers. In fact, they’re probably quite simplistic, which is a reflection of the way I talk to Jesus. I don’t use big words, I pray what I feel and talk to my heavenly Father in much the same way that I talk to my earthly Father.
God’s not looking for “the right prayer” – just for communication with us. It is hard to remember that in the times of high anxiety.
I mentioned that these are 3 prayers to overcome anxiety.
You see, when I have prayed these prayers, something undeniable has happened.
Those feelings of heaviness in the pit of my stomach, the racing heart, the transition to “fight or flight mode” have all gone away.
Every symptom of anxiety has gone away.
The symptoms of anxiety have been replaced with peace – and in my life, that is a direct result of the prayer for mercy and grace.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – I Peter 5:7
Finding peace from the anxiety
I am sharing these with you because I want you to feel the same peace I have. I want you to know that God has more for us than the struggles and anxieties that weigh us down.
I want you to know that we can overcome. Whatever we struggle with, even those times when we feel anxious, we can overcome. As we share our own stories of overcoming, God is the one who gets the glory.
I’ll leave you with a favorite passage found in Revelation 12: 10-12.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
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