Tag Archives: stress

Prayer And Praise

How do you handle stress or bad news? I’m the type of person who replays the situation over and over in my head trying to find a solution. Each time that I don’t find one, the stress seems to get heavier. I begin to feel tired, but I can’t sleep because I’m too worked up. I try to think of something else, but I can’t. My mind fixated on the problem and all of its consequences. I even start to question myself as to why I wasn’t prepared for this. I keep concentrating on the problem until I remember that God knows the answer.

To help my mind make the shift, I play praise and worship music. I love how it invites the presence of God into the place where I am, and how it shifts my attention from how big the problem is to how big God is. From deep within me, I begin to thank God for all He has done in my life, for all He has provided and for all He is going to do. As I do that, i give the responsibility of finding the solution over to Him. I don’t have to have control of the situation or my future because it’s in His hands.

I know that’s easier said than done, but the truth is He is more capable of working out His will in my life than I am. He is able to use whatever it is that’s stressing me out for my good. By giving it to Him, I release myself of the stress of having to find a solution and the fear of making the wrong choice. I spend time reminding God of all the times in my life when He has intervened or taken what I thought was a bad thing and turned into something good. The power of praise and prayer changes everything.

David knew that. In Psalm 30:4 he wrote, “Sing praise to the Lord, all his faithful people! Remember what the Holy One has done, and give him thanks!” (GNT) He then reminds us that mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. We don’t have to fear what tomorrow will bring when we place it in a His hands. When we learn to pray and give praise in these times, we can wake up joyful because we are trusting our unknown future to the God we know.

Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

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Sanity Break

Years ago I owned a childcare center. As I would go through the new hire orientation, I would let them know how stressful the job could be (Imagine being trapped in a room with 22 two year olds for 8 hours). I would tell them to come to me when they needed a sanity break. Then I would add, “We all get to the end of our rope sometimes. When you get to the knot on the end, that’s when you come to me. Please don’t wait until you’re holding on by the thread below that.”

One day, I was sitting in my office doing paperwork, and I saw a lady quickly go by, grab the doorknob to exit and on her way out say, “Mr. Chris, I gotta have that sanity break now!” My first thought was, “Who’s with your class?” I jumped up and ran to the room to watch the kids. Several minutes later she returned. She apologized for waiting too long, and we began discussing the importance of coming to me before that happened again.

Just like working in that environment, every day stresses add up. Life can be overwhelming at times. We all get to the end of our rope and want to walk out at times. The burdens we carry around with us can often get the best of us too. Jesus understood that, and still does. In Matthew 11:28 jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (NLT). He’s telling us to come to Him before we get to the end of our rope.

His call, “Come to me,” goes out to you and me today. It’s up to us to go to Him and to hand Him the things that are weighing us down. It’s ok to say, “Lord, i can’t carry this anymore. Will you take it? Give me your burden please.” In that moment, when you trust Him to take it, there is a sweet release. Your problems won’t go away, and life will still be coming at you, but you won’t have to bear the weight of it. God cares for you and your situation. He calling to you today, “Come to me.”

Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

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The Burden Of The Unknown


If you are like me, worry has a tendency to creep in from time to time. I look at the future, and my mind begins to play scenario after scenario of what might happen. Usually, it’s always the worst case scenarios. I begin to stress and then get worried to the point that it keeps me up and dominates my thoughts. My worry comes from not knowing what the future holds. I like to plan and prepare, and when I can’t do that, stress takes over. 

Worry also comes from a lack of trust in God. When I get overly anxious, it means that I don’t trust God with my future. Sometimes we are good at giving Him our past and our present, but struggle to give Him our future. God knows what your future holds, and He’s even planned it out. He is not going to be surprised by what happens in your life or how each situation will unfold. That’s why we’ve got to learn to trust Him when it comes to our future. 

1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT). It’s not God’s responsibility to relieve you of your worry. It’s your responsibility to trust Him with your future, and to give it to Him. It’s quite a release to hand the burden of the unknown off to Him. I can tell you that I’d rather give up my stress than my sleep. I found a way to do that by learning to trust God with the unknown. 

Releasing the burden of the unknown takes you praying, “God, i don’t know what the future holds, but you do. I’m going to trust that your plan for my life is better than my plan. I give you my future. I release it to you. I don’t want to carry this burden anymore. Please take it and help me to trust you more.” When I prayed that prayer and meant it, my worry left. When it tried to come back, I told it to talk to God because my future was in His hands. Doing that repeatedly, until it was ingrained in my mind, is how I was released from the worry and stress of the burden of the unknown. 

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Pressure, Prayer and Praise


One day I was walking and deep in thought. I wasn’t paying attention to what was in front of me until I stepped on a ketchup packet. When I did, ketchup shot out of the package and went all over the glass of a shop. While wiping it off, I began to think how when pressure is applied to something, what’s inside comes out. I began to wonder what would come out of my mouth and actions, from the inside of me, if serious pressure was applied. 

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into prison because they were preaching the Gospel and had delivered a girl from demon possession. Verse 16 says, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them” (NLT). When pressure was applied, prayer and raise is what came out of them. The goal for each of us is to be so full of God that when pressure is applied, prayer and praise would come out of us.

Here are some verses on prayer and praise. 

1. Proclaim with me the Lord ‘s greatness; let us praise his name together! I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me; he freed me from all my fears.
Psalm 34:3-4 GNT

2. In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?
Psalms 118:5-6 NLT

3. In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 PETER 1:6-7 AMP

4. There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5:3-5 MSG

5. Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

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1 vs 100


Do you ever get to the point where your problems become overwhelming? There are times and periods in life when I just can’t seem to shake free of a cycle of problems. It depletes my energy and saps my spirit. To stop and look at everything in front of me and see a never ending line of things coming at me can easily leave me feeling depleted. It feels like I’m on that show “1 vs. 100” sometimes, except there’s no cash prize at the end of the line of things I’m facing. What I usually forget during those times is that I’m not facing it alone.

In II Kings 6, the king of Aram was trying to attack Israel, but God kept showing Elisha their plans and Israel averted them. The king was angry and wanted who in his army was the traitor. When someone told him that it was Elisha who was giving away their position and plan, he mobilized his entire army and went to attack Elisha. That next morning, Elisha’s servant woke up and went outside. When he saw an entire army camped against them, he panicked. He was overwhelmed and didn’t know what they would do.

I love Elisha’s response to him in verse 16 when he comes outside and sees the army. He said, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!” (NLT). Then Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes, and he saw an army of horses and chariots of fire. The army didn’t defeat Elisha that day because God was on his side. Elisha remained calm under the pressure of being in a 1 vs.100 type situation because he knew that God was with him. He didn’t panic, but instead trusted.

When facing those insurmountable odds, instead of panicking, we need to remember that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (I John 4:4). In those moments when I feel overwhelmed and outnumbered by my problems, my prayer is that God would open my eyes to see He’s on my side. I need to know that I’m not going to be defeated and that God has everything under control. It doesn’t matter if it’s 1 vs 100 or 1 vs 1,000,000, when God is on our side, there are more on our side than on theirs!

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Greater Than Worry


Worry. It’s something that everyone deals with. Whether it’s about paying the bills this month, will we find true love, the end result of an illness, or any number of things, we all worry. I love that dictionary.com defines worry as, “To torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts.” Worry is nothing more than self-torture. It’s allowing our mind to put us into a debilitating prison where our mind thinks of every negative thing that may happen in a situation. Worry only looks at the negative outcomes.

If you’re a worrier, take heart. God wants to free you from that torment. I John 3:20 says, “God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves” (MSG). Not only does He know you better than you know yourself, He knows your future. There is nothing that is going to happen to you that He doesn’t already know about. I learned several years ago to trust that worrying didn’t solve the problem or change the future, so I began to hand my worry to Him. 

I Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (NLT). I admit it was difficult to learn to hand them off to Him because I didn’t know what to think about or do since all I knew was worry. But that’s where Philippians 4:6 came into play. It says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (MSG).

Worry never changed the outcome of anything, but prayer has! Quit tormenting yourself and start praying to God about it. Release it to Him because He is greater than your worry and your problems. He wants to trade peace for your suffering. He wants to give you a lighter burden, but you have to be willing to exchange worry for it and leave it with Him. God cares deeply about you and the things you’re going through. Trust Him to do what’s best and give Him your worry. Give no place in your mind to anxiety and debilitating worry. Be free.

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Responding To Distress


If you were to take a piece of pottery and a stick of butter into the oven, you’d get two different results. While the pottery would harden, the butter would melt. Even though it’s the same fire, things react differently to it. The same goes for us. Each one of us go through the fires of tribulations and troubles here on earth. Not one of us are exempt from it, but we each respond differently. Even though we have the same physical properties, those fires produce different results in us.

For me, those fires nearly wiped me off the earth. They destroyed everything in my life and left me with nothing. My response was to shut down and check out. I thought, “If I don’t have anything left to live for, why should I live?” Other people who have been through similar fires used it as fuel to get stronger, tougher, and better. They didn’t let it get the best of them. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong way when it comes to how you respond to distress in your life except when it comes to your spiritual life.

Fires, tribulation and distress should push us closer to God, not away. Those are really the only two options spiritually. You can run to God and become totally dependent on Him or you can turn your back on Him wondering why He let this happen to you. II Corinthians 7:10 says, “Distress that drives us to God does that (produces all gain, not loss). It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets” (MSG).

In my life, the distress pushed me toward God in the end. It wasn’t until I had nothing left that I told God, “I give up. I can’t do this without you.” That moment sparked a change. Life didn’t get better immediately and not everything was restored right then. It took years, but God has been faithful to me and I don’t regret the pain I went through because it caused me to run back to God. I started off like that butter in the fire, but ended up like the pottery. You can too. Whatever you’re going through, it’s not too late to let it push you to God instead of away.

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