I Ain’t Scared
I get uncomfortable. Anxious. Sometimes scared.
It’s nothing new. Through the years I’ve resisted it. I’ve accepted it. I’ve worked on it.
And I’ve prayed about it. A lot.
So when the pastor was asking for a public recitation of prayer one Sunday after preaching on Isaiah 54:17, I wanted to repeat his phrase with everybody else:
“I ain’t scared.”
He was using slang to give us attitude. He was using our togetherness to give us courage. And he was using it as prayer to give us faith.
But would it be true for me to say it? And if so, why don’t I say it more often?
I read another statement of affirmation on Monday:
“If you pray well, you live well.”
It was written by the Puritan author Richard Rogers in the 1500s in his Holy Helps for a Godly Life.
I want to believe it also is true. But is it? And if it is, why don’t we pray more often?
The Pains of Praying
Sometimes we just forget to pray. We get in doing-mode instead of pausing to talk things over with God first.
Other times we find it boring to pray. So we shut it off prematurely. We don’t have time for that.
And then there’s the biggie: Sometimes we don’t pray because we don’t think it works.
We haven’t seen God answer everything, so we stop praying for anything.
In Holy Helps, Rogers addresses these pains. He suggests we need to recall more frequently the benefits we already have seen from prayer. To pray for the blessings still promised to come.
He encourages us to talk up God’s goodness to him, to ourselves, to others. To verbalize what we know. To see by God’s light in the dark.
And he reminds us that we are being heard. Indeed. God is listening. Our words aren’t trapped in our own heads. They go straight through to the heart of the Father.
Get the Gift
And when we do pray? We are changed. Maybe not dramatically. But we come out different on the other side of prayer than how we entered it.
- We have more grace to accept and give forgiveness.
- We have more determination to fight off the bad.
- We have more hope to pursue the good.
And we’re more acquainted with God.
That Sunday morning I did choose to say this aloud with the congregation:
“I ain’t scared.”
I looked around at my fellow brothers and sisters also saying it. My husband beside me. My friend Tara in front of me. Her husband (also named Jeff) saying it, “I ain’t scared.”
In that moment, seeing big Jeff—a tall, strong man with his hands raised to the ceiling in praise the Father—I knew it:
Yes, we really are safe.
And in that moment, I wasn’t scared either.
I will likely continue to grapple with a certain level of anxiety and fear as long as I’m in the flesh. But I can also have great moments of peace in the midst of it.
I know that I’m surrounded by protection.
- God hears me.
- God loves me.
- God is for me.
And he wants me to live well.
If you pray well, you live well, so they say.
Here’s to praying better.
* * *
Is prayer your first option in crisis? In times of peace? Please share in the comments.
We’re almost finished reading Holy Helps for a Godly Life at Tim Challies’ blog.
More thoughts from it:
- 5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – July 2018
- Why They Listen to You