Have You Substituted Worry for Prayer?

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Prayer, Worry | 24 comments

If only I knew how You’d take care of this, then I’d never have to worry. The foolishness of my thoughts suddenly breached my consciousness.

Never “have to” worry? Hadn’t Jesus told me not to worry? When had I replaced “Pray about everything” (Phil. 4:6 NLT) with “Worry about something.”

I prayed, but I also threw in a dash of worry for good measure, especially over the unknown future. Yet Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Matt. 6:34 NASB).

How many of my concerns related to the future? About 99.9%. This uncovered a deeper problem as I remembered something else Jesus said.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (Jn. 14:15 NASB).

My worry showed lack of faith and disobedience. My worry told God, I doubt—

Jesus said unbelievers spend their lives chasing security. In contrast, believers have a heavenly Father who knows and provides for our needs. We find security in seeking Him and His kingdom.

For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:32, 33 NIV).

Replace Worry with Prayer

Paul provides the Christian a profitable replacement for worry.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Phil. 4:6 NLT).

We’re all tempted to worry. But believers don’t have to give into this temptation. We have the power to turn our worries into life-changing prayers. When we add thanksgiving to our prayers, God subtracts anxiety and multiplies peace.

  • Thank You for caring (1 Pet. 5:7)
  • Thank You for knowing my every need and concern (Matt. 6:32).
  • Thank You for being greater than my limitations (Luke 1:37).
  • Thank You that Your plans for me are good (Jere. 29:11).
  • Thank You that Your goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life (Ps. 23:6).

Worry robs our strength and provides no benefit. It is a poor substitute for peace-giving prayer.

#Worry robs our strength and provides no benefit. It is a poor substitute for peace-giving prayer. #pray Click To Tweet

When Prayer Doesn’t Bring Visible Answers

Sometimes we see amazing answers to our prayers. But some heartfelt prayers seem to go unanswered. On the night of His betrayal Jesus asked God to take the cup of suffering from Him. God didn’t remove the suffering, but He sent an angel to strengthen Him so He could endure it. And He showed Jesus the joy that awaited Him on the other side of suffering (Heb. 12:2).

Even when God doesn’t answer as we hope, the prayer offered with thanksgiving still bears fruit. It provides a peace that transcends comprehension. Our hearts can rest in the knowledge that God is working for our eternal good. Some answers won’t be seen until heaven.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7 NLT).

What worry niggles at the back of your mind? What dread looms before you?

Bring it to God. Thank Him that He’s with you, for you, and will never leave you. Thank Him that He’s bigger than your problem. Surrender your desires and expectations to Him. Keep giving them to God until you’re finally able to let go and say, “Thy will be done.”

Unbelievers worry. Believers have a Heavenly Father to care for them. Let’s leave our worries with our Father—and rest.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matt. 6:33 NLT).

Comment here.



Want to exchange your worries for peace? Give Yourself a Break is a ten week interactive study to guide you into God’s rest.

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  1. J.D. Wininger

    Far from accomplished in this area Ms. Debbie, but am learning that when I don’t pray about my concerns, Satan fills the “vacuum” created by my lack of prayer with worry. Pray about everything isn’t a suggestion, but a way of life for Christians. Great truths ma’am. Thank you

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      So true, J.D. I find it to be a beautiful form of abiding.

  2. Ann Musico

    This is awesome Debbie. Worrying is a hard habit to break if you’ve grown up doing it as I did. But over the years, I have learned to bring it to Him first, before wasting time worrying, and allow Him to work it out. I don’t always remember quickly enough and I am thankful for His patience with me, but when I do,, it makes all the difference.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Ann, why are bad habits easy to make and hard to break? I’m thankful for God’s patience with me too!

  3. Joanne Viola

    Your post has me humming an old hymn whose words brought this reminder:
    “What a friend we have in Jesus
    All our sins and griefs to bear
    What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
    O what peace we often forfeit
    O what needless pain we bear
    All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

    May we not forfeit the peace but remember to carry everything to God in prayer.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Joanne, now I’m humming it. Love that old hymn!

  4. Jeanne Takenaka

    Deb, such a good post. Learning how to turn worry into prayer has taken a lot of intentional effort. Especially over this past year, God has given me many opportunities to begin to develop a discipline of choosing prayer over worry.

    I loved what you said here: “Worry robs our strength and provides no benefit. It is a poor substitute for peace-giving prayer.”

    So much wisdom in this post!

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Jeanne, I find some worries cling like Velcro. I have to give them back to the Lord over and over again.

  5. Barbara Latta

    Philippians 4:6-7 are my go to verses because I can find myself in anxiety so many times. I also find myself praying out of fear instead of faith. We know God is always with us and that He is faithful even when we are not. Thanks for sharing these encouraging Scriptures, Debbie.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Barbara, I memorized those early in my Christian walk and they have comforted me many times.

  6. Annie Yorty

    Ouch! So often worry leaps to mind before prayer. I find it takes discipline to practice prayer in the unknown. I often say worrying about an unknown tomorrow steals joy from today. Thanks, Debbie.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Annie, your words about stealing joy remind me of a Corrie ten Boom quote which goes something like this. Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but it empties today of its strength. You’re both right!

  7. Donna

    Thank you, Debbie for the reminder that worry is disobedience. Sometimes I lose sight of that, thinking if I don’t worry it shows a lack of concern. But we can truly rest in any situation when we trust God fully as we bring our concerns to Him with thanksgiving.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Donna, you bring up a good point. Our flesh says worry is a form of caring. I think we fall for that one too often.

  8. Donna Reidland

    Debbie, what great reminders! We have a family situation right now that I need to pray about and leave with God so I found your post very encouraging.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Lord Jesus, please cover Donna and her family with your peace. Grant them wisdom and unity of spirit as they seek You.

  9. Yvonne Morgan

    Great post Debbie. It usually takes me a little bit of time before I remember to turn over the worry to God, but I’m trying. Thank you for sharing

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Me too, Yvonne. Some things are easier to let go of than others. Thanks for reading.

  10. Katherine Pasour

    I need help in this area, Debbie. Thank you for sharing your insight and the reminder to take our worries to our Lord. We should do this in the beginning, not wait until we’re totally overwhelmed. He’s with us every step of the journey.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Katherine, I’m picking up this can be a stumbling block for many of us. We’ll encourage one another to cast our cares on the One who cares for us.

  11. Nancy Ruegg

    “When we add thanksgiving to our prayers, God subtracts anxiety and multiplies peace.” AMEN, Debbie! For starters I’m so thankful we can count on him to forever be at work for our eternal good, just as you’ve said. Thank you for all the affirmations of God’s faithfulness included here, Debbie.

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Nancy, thank you for adding your thoughts.

  12. Madhava

    Dear Debbie,
    Good morning .
    God Bless you in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ
    Thank you so much for your faith and trust in God who called you for His glory bysharing the truth in His word.
    Thanks for your knowledge and wisdom that you learned from the Word of God.
    Thanks for your prayerful, faithful and fruitful heart that you leading and guiding by the Holy Spirit .
    There is no commodity in market place to purchase to heal the worry and anxiety, only the word of God .
    In Christ,
    Madhava, India

    • Debbie W. Wilson

      Amen! Thank you, Madhava.

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