JULY 17, 2015
Why I Stopped Praying Against Fear
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
Hi. My name is Julie. And for entirely too long my middle name might as well have been Fear.
Fear influenced many of my decisions. Fear amplified my imagination in a bad way — I was the worst-case scenario queen. Fear even tried to prevent me from moving forward in obedience to what I sensed God calling me to do.
So I did what any wise believer would do. I prayed. For years, I diligently prayed against fear. That God would take away my fear. That fear would leave me alone. That fear would vanish. That fear would be far from me.
Eventually I realized those prayers would probably require me to live in a bubble, limit my interactions with people, never attempt anything that could be considered risky and quite possibly never leave my house.
But the truth is, until Christ’s return, fear will always exist on this earth. We live in a scary world where bad things happen. One look at the news headlines makes that clear.
John 10:10 tells us that the enemy "comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (ESV). One of the primary ways he does this is through fear. The enemy’s intent is to keep our eyes riveted on our fears and stop us from trusting God. Stop us from making wise decisions. Stop us from believing things can change. Stop us from pursuing the seemingly impossible dreams in our hearts.
It soon became clear to me that there must be a better way to pray. That praying against fear wasn’t enough, because fear still held far too much influence over me. And if God had not given me a spirit of fear, as our key verse declares, I wanted to sense a difference. I wanted to be brave and strong on the inside so fear could no longer shake me.
So my prayers changed. Drastically. Instead of just praying against fear, I began to use God’s Word and pray for specific things. God-inspired things. Like courage and confidence and amazing peace.
Though we might not always be fearless, by praying specifically for qualities found in God’s Word, we can fear less. If you’re battling fear on any level or in any area of your life, I’d like to invite you to do the same.
Instead of praying that fear will be far from us, we can ask God to give us strong, bold and courageous hearts (Joshua 1:9) when fear comes near.
Instead of asking God to take away all fear, we can ask for His grace to run toward the big, scary things with great courage (1 Samuel 17:48).
Instead of praying that fear will leave us alone, we can pray that when we are afraid we will trust and have confidence in God (Psalm 56:3).
Instead of asking God to make all fear in our lives vanish, we can pray that His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and supersede all fear (see Philippians 4:6-7).
Praying this way changes us. It has changed me. I no longer make decisions based on fear. I recognize worst-case scenarios forming and instead of entertaining them I nip them in the bud. And I am moving forward in obedience to the things God has called me to do.
God doesn’t promise to always take away all our fears. Yet He gives us the power, love and self-discipline necessary to embrace His life-changing truth. When we pray His living and active Word something amazing happens — God strengthens our hearts. He helps us trust Him, girds us with His amazing peace and enables us to move forward in courage.
And we will fear less.
Hi. My name is Julie. And my middle name is Brave.
Dear God, Help me not be paralyzed by my fears, but when I am afraid, help me trust in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 34:4, "I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears." (NLT)
1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (NIV)
Julie Gillies’ devotional, Prayers For a Woman’s Soul, will help you pray for and about yourself with topics that are relevant to you, including fear.
Visit the Prayers For A Woman’s Soul Community Facebook Page for inspiring prayer encouragement.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Write the verse above that most resounds with you and keep it nearby. This week, every time you sense fear building in your heart, determine to pray God’s Word.
© 2015 by Julie K. Gillies. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Friday, 17 July 2015.