Guided Prayer for Anxious TimesListen <mp3>
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness,
And all these things shall be added unto you. Allelu, Alleluia.
Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek, and ye shall find,
Knock, and the door shall be opened unto you; Allelu, Alleluia.
Music: Seek Ye First, Karen Lafferty (20th cent.)
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” —Philippians 4:6
”God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,
And though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
Though its waters rage and foam,
And though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
She shall not be overthrown;
God shall help her at the break of day.
The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken;
God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Reading from the
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life… can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil not spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will God not much more clothe you – you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or What will we wear?’… Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” —Matthew 6:25a, 27-31, 32b-34
Reflection followed by Silence
Now close your eyes for a time of brief reflection and meditation. Take a deep breath and quiet your soul.
It seems natural to worry these days. Even those among us who are always ‘looking on the bright side’ worry about the economic difficulties in the world, whether we will retain our jobs, whether there will be enough political leadership to lift us from the sticky mire we now find ourselves in. Then there are the worries about our bodies, our relationships, our futures, our souls. Will we stay healthy, will our insurance be there when we need it, can our relationships stand the stress of uncertainty, will our children be able to go to college, will retirement plans stay in place, will Barack Obama be a good President, will our souls crumple from lack of hope and dearth of faith?
The word worry actually means to strangle or to wring. Worry does that to us. We feel like we’re a wet dishcloth being wrung out. Our heart gets crimped, our soul feels tight, our body feels twisted, our mind feels distorted. Then a moment comes when we crawl to the only place where hope can be found. In the place of stillness where God is. There in that holy space, worry is eased and we are bathed in the peace of heaven. It doesn’t take heroic effort. It takes only the willingness to stop for a moment, breathe deeply, and ask to be brought into the heart of God. In the sliver of a second, we can find ourselves held in the holy embrace and worry will melt away.
Now take a moment to reflect on the question:
How is worry crimping my soul and how is God calling me into stillness?
Invitation to Prayer
Take some moments now to offer the concerns of your heart to heaven. Remember those who are in pain, those who are afraid, those who are alone, those whom you love, those who are dying, and those who are already in heaven, and pray for the needs of your own life.
Gracious God, I ask you to plant a seed of stillness in my soul. When worry and anxiety scurry around my soul stealing my joy, and dampening my faith, remind me to stop for just a moment so I can be brought into the space of quiet. Give me, each day, the desire and capacity to breathe in the wonder of air, to envision a still lake on a windless dawn, to drop deep into the well of my own being and find there the peace of your presence. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.
May the blessing of the God who holds you in the palm of heaven’s hand, wash over you with the greatest grace until your soul is calm and still in the Divine Presence.
Holy Ghost, dispel our sadness;
Pierce the clouds of nature’s night;
Come thou source of joy and gladness,
Breathe thy life and spread thy light.
From the height which knows no measure,
As a gracious shower descend,
Bringing down the richest treasure
We can wish, or God can send.
Music: Pleading Savior, melody from The Christian Lyre, 1830
Copyright ©2008 Renée Miller