A friend and I have been joking recently about some of the things that we would say to each other if we were really being honest. One of these would be to replace the word “pray” with the word “worry”. For example, when someone shares a concern or struggle with you, you respond by saying, “I’ll worry about that for you”. Or the next time we see them we let them know we’ve been thinking of them: “How’s it all going, I’ve been worrying for you heaps” – see how it works? Sad, but often so true!
How hard we modern Christians find it to pray. How hard we find it to stop “playing God” as if our lives were really in our own control. How hard we find it to stop worrying and simply DEPEND on God.
In my quiet times over the last couple of months I’ve been reading through the books of Chronicles in the Old Testament. These books tell the story of the kings of Israel and then Judah, of their successes and their failures. But through all the action, the overarching lesson that God’s people had to learn and re-learn was to trust him, to depend on him, to seek him and NOT to rely on their own strength for victory.
It struck me as I read, just how consistent the message of Chronicles is with the gospel of Jesus Christ and just how much I need to learn and learn again to actively place my trust in God and not in myself. And prayer MUST ALWAYS be the starting point and the most fundamental expression of true faith. And the great thing is that as we pray, God promises to deal with our worries and everything falls into its proper place (Philippians 1:6&7).
So to paraphrase that great hit of the 80s: “don’t worry, be… praying!”