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How to Pray and Leave Burdens at Jesus’ Feet

Jennifer Maggio

The Life of a Single Mom
Updated May 21, 2019
How to Pray and Leave Burdens at Jesus’ Feet

"Then Jesus said, 'Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” (Matthew 11:28-30)

This is probably one of the most comforting Scriptures in the Bible. Come to me. There is hope. There is rest waiting for you with me. Oh, how our weary souls need solace, peace, and true rest. The weight of the world often seems to be resting on our shoulders. The burdens of financial pressures, parenting woes, unreasonable supervisors, gossiping neighbors, troubled marriages, and health concerns can be overwhelming. The exhaustion of wanting to have and do it all while maintaining the perfect work-life balance is ever-present in most of our lives. Just the idea of sitting at the feet of Jesus, not focused on my own worries, fills me with unexplainable peace. But that type of peace and rest is, in fact, available to us, as believers, every single day.

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Why are the burdens so heavy, and how do we get rid of them?

Why are the burdens so heavy, and how do we get rid of them?

It was some years ago, when I was struggling through a particularly overwhelming period in my life, that I was praying about this very thing. I prayed, “Lord, I know your yoke is easy, but how do I let it go and not keep picking it back up?”

This immediate vision came to me. I was walking along a dirt road carrying heavy bags of some sort. Every few minutes, I would pick up another heavy bag until I could barely move. Then, a man came driving by with a truck and shouted, “Need a lift?” And I responded, “No, I’ve got it.” He drove away shaking his head.

It was as if the Lord was showing me that His promises of rest are available every day and yet, I choose not to give my cares to him.

Take a look at Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then, you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

There are four steps in these verses that give us clear direction on how to experience this precious peace and light burden that Jesus promised. 

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1. Don’t worry about anything.

1. Don’t worry about anything.

The Scripture does not say, “Don’t worry about anything unless you have cancer, a really difficult life, a failing marriage, a broken heart, legal trouble, a death in the family, or financial challenges.” It says “Don’t worry about anything.”

Now, this one is hard. Most of us have been conditioned to worry since we were children. It’s likely you heard your parents say things that exhibited worry. It’s the way of the world and certainly what we’ve been conditioned to do.

But the Holy Spirit gives us self-control. We can control our thought life. When worry enters your mind, commit to training your thoughts to immediately respond, “Nope, this is not how I have been created. I am not a creature of worry. I am a creature of faith.” It must be your constant prayer.

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2. Pray about everything.

2. Pray about everything.

Philippians 4:6 begins with the word ‘instead.’ Instead of choosing to worry about things, choose to pray about everything. Detail the nuances of your life before your Father. Tell him about the challenges you face. Tell him about the fears that keep resurfacing.

He cares about the things that concern you. Bring them before him. Pray about everything and then give it to him in trust that he’ll handle it. Stop talking about it to others. Stop obsessing over it. Stop letting it consume your days and thoughts and peace. Give it to him and then keep giving it to him.

It might take a thousand times of giving it to him to condition yourself to stop taking it back. We can’t handle it. We aren’t big enough, smart enough, or powerful enough. But our heavenly Father is!

3. Tell God what you need.

Be specific. Father, I need rent money for this month. I’ve been working faithfully, and the medical bills have mounted. Help me to see your hand in this. Move a mountain.

Tell Him and then have the faith to see him do it. Be consistent, persistent, and insistent. You have access to the very throne of God. You are a city on a hill. Your Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Is anything too hard for him? Of course not. Keep talking. Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep praying.

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4. Thank him for all he’s done.

4. Thank him for all he’s done.

Begin to praise the past provision. Thank him for his faithfulness, his sustaining power, his grace, and his death on the cross. Begin with the details of your life. Thank him for your car, housing, children, friends, church, and safety. Thank him for your health, your spouse, your family, and job. The list of gratitude should be endless. Fill your spirit with that thanksgiving and praise. Begin to worship him in all his goodness.

Despite the problems you face, he is good and faithful. Despite the heartache you feel, he is still the healer, the peace-giver, and the sustainer of all things. Despite your weakness and feelings of being unable to move on, he is strength. Keep thanking him.

It is after those 4 steps that you will experience the peace that exceeds anything we can understand. As we condition our hearts and minds to fully surrender to these four steps, we begin to see God’s hand at work in those difficult areas of our lives. Now, I won’t pretend that building this habit is easy, particularly if you’ve had decades to practice worry. But it is attainable.

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As believers, we have hope that the world doesn’t have.

As believers, we have hope that the world doesn’t have.

We have peace gifted to us through Jesus. This world is hard and messy and sometimes heavy. But as we continue to seek God’s will and his kingdom, we will have special rest—that is a true promise.

Begin to pray that God would give you the self-control to stop worrying, the patience to wait on a solution to the problem, and the faith to continue pressing in and believing, even when everything around you seems to scream otherwise.

Be reminded that he who promises is faithful. Be reminded that the same God who rescued you from that thing in your past that was hard and heavy will, in fact, rescue you from this thing. It won’t be in your timing or your way, but it will be perfect. And the best part? The end result is always beauty for the ashes of hurt, pain, and disappointment. The result is always far better than we could’ve orchestrated.

Jennifer Maggio is a national voice for single mothers and hurting women. Her personal story has been featured in hundreds of media venues including The New York Times, Daystar Television, The 700 Club, and many others. She is CEO/Founder of The Life of a Single Mom Ministries, a national nonprofit that works with churches to develop single mom’s programs and serves more than 1,500 churches and 82,000 single mothers annually. She is an author of several books, including The Church and the Single Mom. For more information, visit www.jennifermaggio.com.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Arkira


Originally published Tuesday, 21 May 2019.