A Prayer to Avoid Envy - Your Daily Prayer - July 15

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A Prayer to Avoid Envy
By Meg Bucher

“Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.” – Proverbs 23:17-18, NLT

Sidelined again. After years of strengthening my body and treating old injuries, I had finally been able to enjoy the thing on this earth I love the most …running. Through the local park in the early morning hours, I found myself smiling, rejoicing, and getting fast again. The subtle pain in my left knee drifted from nagging to throwing my stride into a tizzy in a matter of days, and I found myself weeping over what I feared I had lost again. I envied people who could do what I could not, and it aggravated me that people with completely healthy legs didn’t use them to run – it didn’t seem fair, and I quickly started to feel sorry for myself. 

Dictionary.com defines envy as “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.” Running is a good thing. It keeps me healthy, physically and mentally. We are supposed to be good stewards of those things, but allowing my love for running to let envy run wild in my heart was something I knew I needed to sprint to God and hand over to Him.

The ESV Global Study Bible says, “Instead of envying those who ignore God’s way, pleasing the Lord should be the believer’s top priority (v. 17). Such a path is the only true hope for a future.” It’s especially the people who don’t believe in, care about, pray to, or have a relationship with God that really get under our skin. It seems unfair. We pursue God and expect Him to bless our every stride in life. But true faith reminds us we live in a broken world, and things break. It doesn’t mean they aren’t fixable, nor does it mean God is ignoring or punishing us. So, as we pick ourselves up from the sideline over and over, no matter how discouraging it gets, let’s never stop running this race alongside Christ, Jesus. 

Let’s pray:

Often, we think of envy in terms of physical things people have and own, flourishing careers, happy families, and a seemingly stress-free existence. I confess when I can’t run, I envy people who can! Get that out of my heart, God! Help me, instead, focus my energy on seeking You and developing new strengths in the process. Father, strengthen the weak parts of our physicality that cause us to sin and stumble. If a sore knee can cause my heart to be sick with envy, I can only imagine what else is making my heart hurt! Search our hearts, God. Renew a right spirit in us, and cleanse us from our hidden sins.

Father, we lift our worries up to You because You care about us. Pry whatever is ailing us out of our hands, God! The temptation to run for quick solutions and grab control of things that aren’t going the way we want them to is big. Teach and empower us to obey You at all times with an attitude of Joy, God! Right the ship of our hearts when it’s about to capsize because of hopelessness and pain. God, we know we live in a sinful world, but we need to be reminded of what that means in our everyday lives. Help us to grow discerning hearts and minds, especially when we are frustrated and envious.

Envy is not something we want running our lives, God. Please help us repent from envy. Replace it with a proper view of the people we are envious of. No one has a stress-free life. Father, when we are tempted to look around and compare our lives and circumstances to the people around us, change our minds. Instead, help us to see the people You have placed in our lives the way You do. You put us in community for a reason, God, alert us of envy, which can stop us from connecting with people the way You intend us to.

God, life is hard when it doesn’t go the way we want it to, especially when we are working hard to do something healthy and productive. Help us to find comfort in You, knowing that life is not always fair, and there is pain in this world that will upset, hurt, and anger us. Help us to take all those things to You immediately, God. Bless the doctors who care for our physical aches and pains and the counselors who help us revive our mental health when we need to pop out of a downward spiral. God, we confess discontent and covetousness. Yuck! Help us repent of these attitudes, which inevitably steal the joy from our daily lives, and let us instead embrace the hope we have in Jesus, even though – and especially when – things are not going our way. If we can learn to rejoice in the hard times, we most certainly will feel the lightness of joy when we experience healing and victory in our lives.
In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/MatthiasLindner

Meg BucherMeg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ at megbucher.comShe is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ,” and "Sent, Faith in Motion." Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her writing passion. A contributing writer for Salem Web Network since 2016, Meg is now thrilled to be a part of the editorial team at Salem Web Network. Meg loves being involved in her community and local church, leads Bible study, and serves as a youth leader for teen girls.

Related Resource: Remember God's Enduring Love for You in this Guided Meditation on Psalm 100!

This guided Christian meditation from Psalm 100 will help you experience and praise God for his unending love for you. Become aware of God’s presence with you, and praise God for his loyal and enduring love from the beginning of time and into the future. Listen to every episode of the So Much More Podcast on LifeAudio.com, or subscribe on Apple or Spotify so you never miss an episode!

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Originally published Monday, 15 July 2024.