Anxiety is one of those taboo things that we all experience in some form, but are rarely willing to talk about. The conversation surrounding such an issue is much bigger than I can address within this post. There are many reasons not to share something so personal, but I’m choosing to overlook those reasons.
What I’m about to share, I share for two reasons. One, because I know that someone reading may be in a similar season and I want them to know that they are not alone. And two, even though I was walking with God when this happened, the anxiety was real. There’s an active battle that each of us are fighting. But in hindsight, God has proven to be better than I thought He was and more real than I imagined. Take heart, He is fighting for His people.
I awoke to the feeling that my chest was on fire—an energy burning and racing inside. My short and shallow breaths increased their pace as my mind darted in a thousand directions all at once. I was immediately reminded of the doctor’s question only a few weeks prior, “Has your anxiety ever kept you from sleeping?”
My answer then was, “No”, mainly because I denied the reality that I struggled with anxiety. Now, I could no longer say that. This was a reality I had to face—a battle I had to fight.
I got out of bed, grabbed my Bible, and fell on my knees in the middle of the living room floor. What you’ll read below is the prayer I wrote that morning. Your prayer will look different, and it should. I share my prayer so that you might see elements to help you unlock your own struggle and provide perspective to encounter God with a fresh set of eyes.
Father, I hate living in fear. I hate worry. And I hate the lies that keep me clinging to them.
Tonight, I am laid bare before you. I earnestly pray for your Spirit and power to cover me. I pray for this house, for the protection of your angel armies against the attacks of the enemy. Today wasn’t a very good day. My sin was close, reminding me of how my selfishness and my anger are quick to rear their head when I find myself questioned. It’s like the need to defend myself is something I am entitled to.
My heart is burdened. I confess my actions before you. I grab your Word to cover myself in truth.
Father, here I am. Hungry to know you, intimately and personally. You have been so present as I’ve sought, but Father it disgusts and disheartens me to know that I still live with these struggles. Of course I’m not to fool myself that I should be free of pain—Paul had his thorn—but I am concerned with how I respond. Instead of a list of rules and truth in my head, a checklist to abide by, help me abide in you.
God, I want the fullness you have prepared and the promises that your Word declares. Not just in my own life, but in the lives of those who would believe as well. But God, remind me in my pride that this isn’t my burden to bear. You already bore it on the tree. Father, you wrestled the “How” to the ground in Gethsemane and marched it up Golgatha’s hill. Your burden is light and your yolk is easy. Father, grant me that ease tonight and here forward.
Father, I feel your call to truly loosen the grip that my hands have on this world and the things of it. My desire is to honor you with my life and my heart, not just my lips. Father, I want to experience the power you have given me as a son and invoke that power upon the feeble fears of this world.
Heavenly Father, what I lack most is the courageous patience to trust you to work in your time. My mind is weak when it comes to the “How” and the “When”. In my own strength, I fabricate stories in my head of what it should look like and too often I get lost in the narrative of misplaced hope. Yet you’re simply sitting there waiting for me to absolutely trust you. It’s in the gap where I fail, Father. I fall short in the waiting.
And it’s in the waiting where the enemy is close at hand with his lies. Constantly encroaching my emotions, trying to keep me shrouded in fear, shame, whatever he can to wedge a wall of distrust between my heart and yours. That’s what I hate, Father. The ill-intended, childish attacks of the enemy in a losing battle.
Father, I want to see you move in power and declare your goodness and truth to the world. And how I long to be a vessel. Yet still Father I have so far to go. There’s still childishness in me that needs to mature into a childlike spirit. One who is joyful, eager and willing to give you everything knowing with absolute and supreme confidence that you are good. That you will be faithful, even despite my moments of unfaithfulness.
Father, I long for peace. For the absolute freedom from this world and it’s temporary pleasures. God, grant me a heart that is inclined on eternity. A heart that longs for your purposes and sees them working in your timing. A heart that is at rest and a soul that is submitted to my spirit. Father, bring these into their proper positioning and help me to thrive in how you’ve created me to live. Grant me those things for the purposes of glorifying you and brining people into the knowledge that you are the Lord God Almighty. Yahweh. Jehovah Jireh. Abba, Father.
And for anything that stands in the way of that. Father, extract it from my life as you would a decaying tooth in my mouth. Whatever opposes that pure heart, I ask that you would cause it to turn to dust.
Because God, we are not fighting for the purposes of the here and now, the temporary things that the enemy causes us to grovel over. We are fighting for the purposes of the Kingdom of God—and by the very words of Jesus, I hold those keys.
I am a son, an heir to that Kingdom by the blood of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who said that I would do greater things than He by the power of the Holy Spirit which you have sealed and secured in me when I confessed with my mouth and believed in my heart that Jesus is Lord.
Father, I want to know that power that comes from humility. The power that comes from surrender.
There, I will find you waiting. And there, I will find peace.
God Heard My Cry
I wrote this prayer in January of this year. It was the culmination of an ongoing struggle that ended in this bloody, emotional battle on my living room floor. It was the beginning of my spiritual cleanse.
As I read back through my prayer, I see God’s faithfulness over the past seven months that I can’t possibly put into words. Sometimes writing our prayers forces the clarity that we need. And when we have that clarity, we get a bigger picture of God and our heart expands.
God heard my prayer that night. I can’t tell you how, but I can tell you that He freed me from so many of the subtle hooks that the enemy still had in my heart. It was, and still is, a painful process, but freedom from oppression is never an easy road to walk.
But freedom isn’t our weight to bear. Freedom belongs to God. It’s completed in His timing and by His grace. It’s when our reliance on our own strength fails that we can truly being to grasp the magnificence of God and receive His promise.
For too many years, I thought that freedom was somehow accomplished by my own effort. But my struggle taught me that God doesn’t want my determination, He wants my affection. That’s a hard lesson to learn, but anything that’s easy is rarely beneficial.
No matter where you are today, I want you to know that the offer of God is always peace. That’s His promise. Return to Him, seek His face, and receive it. Cry out to God, in your own words from your own heart, and He will respond.
If it feels like you’re buried in your circumstances and could use a fresh reset, join us for the Spiritual Cleanse. The Spiritual Cleanse is a 21-day guided devotional that will help you uncover and address toxic spiritual patterns to provide the breakthrough you need to uncover your “Why”, thrive in your gifts, and live the life of impact you were created for.