Converting Worry to Prayer

“If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now. ” —Elisabeth Elliot

I just read this bit of wisdom in Elisabeth Elliot’s classic, Keep A Quiet Heart. I suspect that many of us are short on time for a present, daily relationship with God because we spend so much time anxiously thinking about the future–both the near future and the distant future. We lie awake at night wondering about how we will pay for college or worrying about rumors of lay-offs. We spend the morning commute thinking about all that could go wrong at the office that day and our evening commute worrying about the mood the kids or the spouse will be in, not to mention all the chores that need to be done around the house before we can finally hit our pillows. We spend the evening thinking nervously in the back of our minds about that presentation tomorrow or the bills that are piling up.

Today, I will create more time for God in my day by converting my anxious thoughts to prayers. Whenever I find myself peering into the future–even feeling the slightest bit unsettled about a future event over which I have no control–I am going to pray. As I begin to worry about potential trafic jams on the road ahead, I am going to ask God to protect me as I drive. When I begin to worry that I will never be able to get everything done that I need to do this weekend, I will show my “to do” list to God and ask Him if there is anything that can be crossed off. When I start to worry about how much money I have spent at the grocery store this month I will echo the words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I will thank Him for providing for my family beyond our wildest dreams so far, and I will ask Him to lead me to bargains and to spend wisely. Above all, each time I will thank Him that HE is in control of my future and I will ask Him what He wants ME to focus on in the present.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6