Prayer Bundles: Gifts For Both The Giver & Receiver
For as long as I can remember, there has been this tiny voice, forever murmuring in the background of my mind. Muttering little niggles of uncertainty that quickly blossom into full blown worry in a heartbeat.
As a child, I worried about my Dad driving our family on a long trip home at night so I would talk to him incessantly to be sure he didn't fall asleep. As a teen, I worried about whether I was acceptable with the "cool" kids in school and if I had studied enough to get good grades. And now, as an adult, entertaining new friends for the first time, attending a new church, choosing the right outfit for an occasion, reaching out to donors on behalf of my charity, co-ordinating a large function; big or small, the seeds of worry quickly bloom into an almost crippling anxiety that can, at times, make me physically ill. I have noticed that, as I age, my worry over minutia has multiplied exponentially. That voice will be whispering in my ear, calling my ability, my authenticity, my motivation, my discipline all into question. And always, I can hear my mother, as she'd so often say, "Oh Peggianne, you're such a worrywart!"
So, what is a worrywart? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as "a person who is inclined to worry unduly". And if I am honest, it also describes me to a T. But that's what the enemy wants. For us to be reeling in self-doubt and worry that have us questioning whether God really cares. Wondering why He's allowed us to feel so helpless and out of control. To make us feel inadequate and sometimes useless. And, oh, how often I do. Do you?
Naturally, all of us want things in life to go smoothly; our endeavours to be successful. I know I do. And, when I take time to look to God for His inspiration and encouragement, I can find a way to quash my worry and feel fortified with courage.
Just as Joshua was preparing to take up the role left vacant by the death of Moses, we all need to hear the Lord as he spoke that day saying, " Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the most experienced emotion by most people over the past 3 years has been worry. At the height of the pandemic millions of Canadians reported suffering some high level of anxiety and worry. Today, over 80% now feel an increased level of worry with the added strain of rising prices and our flailing economy (BNNBloomberg.ca). Worry, as we know, can lead to other deeper issues of ill health and destructive behaviour.
So, it seems only natural that prayer would be the first mechanism to fight against worry. Studies at Baylor University1 have shown that the benefits of prayer to battle worry are significant. By consciously "bundling up" our worries and presenting them to God, we are acknowledging that what unfolds in the future is in His hands alone. 1 Peter 5:7 reminds us, "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you." (NLT)
The Bible is interwoven with stories of everyday folks whose lives were filled with worry. To us, some of those worries may seem small and proud such as Martha, who worried about providing the perfect dinner party as she entertained Jesus or, Moses, who worried about the monumental task of leadership he had been given. Our worries are no more or less significant than these, but they are ours and how we deal with them is what's truly important. Jesus' message to Martha in Luke 10:41-42 said, "The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her." (GNT)
Only God knows what's in store for us each and every day and we'll all go through dark and difficult seasons of worry. Do you take a moment to reflect on what you're praying for to understand more deeply what the lesson is? We must remember that those times are meant as lessons and prayer is also a way to recognize and learn.
"Have you experienced times in your life when you know your prayers have been answered?"
Have you experienced times in your life when you know your prayers had been answered? I can clearly recall countless times when my prayers were answered. Some were small, insignificant, and even a little vain if I'm honest. Some however, were so enormous and life-altering, made in what felt like utterly impossible circumstances, that I know only God could have answered them! But, on every occasion, I bundled up the worry and presented it humbly -and sometimes fervently- to the Lord. His answers may not have always been exactly what I had anticipated or expected but, upon reflection, I recognize them to be the answers that were required.
There's no doubt that stressful times will continue and cause us all a great deal of anxiety. Not only external issues, but also internal battles that keep us up at night and on edge during the day. However, when we make time to identify those specific things and carefully bundle them into purposeful and meaningful prayer, we can begin to feel a shift to optimism, gratitude, understanding, and sense of well-being.
When I look back on those times in my childhood, youth, and young adulthood when I worried about almost anything and everything, I have come to think of that as my "Martha" phase. I still have relapses now and again and need to chastise myself for "being such a Martha". But, when I put together my "bundle" for presentation every morning, I strive to recognize the lesson each item in my bundle is teaching me.
Paws To Pray
Father In Heaven,
Thank you for taking on the worries of the world; for taking on the worries each of us is burdened with. As we present our prayer bundles, we acknowledge that You are relieving us of the load that is weighing us down. We pray, Lord, that through careful discernment, we will learn the lesson to be gained through this worry and use it to move us closer to You. With grateful hearts, we thank you Lord, that we can turn to You for the true answers. Help each of us Lord, to look first to You, with our bundles ready.
In Your Name We Pray,
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