Here’s just a small idea that can make a difference in your day-to-day activities, including your prayer time.
I was buzzing through my typical day a few weeks ago when something I habitually worry about came to mind. The first response ought to be to pray about whatever is causing the worry. After all, Jesus instructed us not to worry.
Matthew 6:25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life
There’s more there, but the opening sentence captures it perfectly! Don’t worry. It’s a sin we seem to accept. That probably sounds a bit harsh, I know. But we all do it. We worry. And Jesus plainly said not to.
That doesn’t mean we don’t care or take responsibility and action to address circumstances, problems, and trials. We absolutely do. The command is “do not worry about your life.” How do we do that? Well, we aren’t left helpless with our concerns and worry. Here’s where the Apostle Paul’s words add a super stellar insight.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The idea is simple. Worry comes. Present said worry and concern to God in prayer. Be thankful. Accept peace. Easy peasy, right?
I don’t know about you, but the struggle for me is fully releasing it to God. I seem to pick whatever it is back up and continue worrying about it. There is a marked difference between meditating on a circumstance, working on a solution, and worry. Worry will never lend itself to productivity or efficiency. It never leads to a solution. On the contrary, it drags you down, leaving you feeling heavy. That’s where you and I can grow aware of the difference.
So how do we respond when it’s worry? Here’s where today’s small idea comes in. What if we took a shoebox, Amazon box, or a jar and made it a prayer container. Maybe we labeled it our Jesus Box. Its purpose is to hold the things that worry us – the things we are praying about but seem to pick back up and worry again. What if we wrote them down, prayed about them, then placed them in the container. Then, when we’re tempted to worry again, we go to the box, pull it out, and admit the struggle to Jesus. Finally, we faithfully place it back in the box, giving it back to Him.
Now, just for a moment, pause, close your eyes and imagine this container is in the hands of Jesus.
We don’t want to take back something we’ve prayed about to carry on our own. (Going to the Jesus Box and pulling out the worry/prayer). And we certainly don’t want to take it out of Jesus’ loving and competent hands. But we struggle. So, we give that struggle to Him. We admit it to Him, take the written down worry, and put it back in our Jesus Box.
I can only imagine what that would do to my prayer life. Each worry, including the one that I habitually worry about, would force me to my Jesus Box, where I’d pull out that particular worry, pray, and place it back in.
I know this whole box thing sounds odd. I get it. But there is something about writing down what worries us, what concerns us, and what ought to be our prayers. It gives handles to hold onto, something we can tangibly hold and ultimately release.
And isn’t that Jesus’ and Paul’s point?
We have the ultimate victory through Jesus (which cost Him dearly), yet we turn around and live in the muck of worry. Abundance doesn’t reside in the muck.
Abundance resides in release.
So this week, why not grab a box, a jar, some container and label it accordingly. Decorate it if you’re that type. And then start putting your worries in it as prayers. And each time you’re tempted to worry about that thing you continually worry about, pull it out, admit the struggle, pray for that thing again, and put it back in Jesus’ hands and walk away. Put it back in your Jesus Box. It’s releasing it back into Jesus’ capable hands. Releasing doesn’t absolve ourselves from our responsibility, but it appropriately places what we cannot do into the great hands who can.
Abundance resides in release.
You are loved.