Prayer in times of Worry

The first line of each prayer was written by members of a retreat group who suffer depression.  Additional lines were written by Ronald Raab, C.S.C.

INTRODUCTION

Worry keeps us from living fully. It holds us hostage when we obsess about our past regrets. Worry stifles the future when it overwhelms our dreaming and hopes. When we live in worry, the present becomes dull and lifeless. Worrying about yesterday, today and tomorrow suffocates the work of God’s life within us.

Jesus, in his ministry, invites us not to be afraid, not to worry. We need to listen carefully to the work the Spirit within us, to place all worry in the care of God. Jesus touches our fear and invites us to be open to new life. This ability to rest our worry in God is a process of growing into faith.

These simple prayers are meant to be a springboard for your own reflection on the patterns of worry in your life. The source of these prayers comes from a group discussion on the topic of “worry.” The first lines of the prayers in bold face print were written anonymously from those who suffer depression. Facing constant worry is life is a challenge and burden for so many. Allowing God to open us up to new life, living our true selves, is a step into faith.

The GOSPEL here is just a starting place for your own prayer and ideas. Pray with a Scripture text that speaks to you about worry in your own life. For example, a healing story may be a real comfort in your illness. Or praying a psalm may open the depths of God’s fidelity toward you. As you pray with “worry” in your life, chose a text of consolation and hope. Take some quality quiet time to begin this process.

The PRAYER section is meant to spark your imagination. Write a prayer from your own experience of “worry.” Write about your experience, not what your think someone else wants to hear. God is in the core of your worrying.

The JOURNAL section is simply a starting point for further reflection. I you do not know what to write, consider using one of these prompts to get you started. There are no correct answers, only your imagination.

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GOSPEL – Mark 7:31-37

Again Jesus let the district of Tyre and went by the way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And the people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.

He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue, and said to him, “Ephphatha!”- that is, “Be opened!”- And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

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PRAYER   1

“Jesus, worry is a great weight that pulls me down and drowns me in an ocean of helplessness. I can’t kick myself up to the surface.”

I can hardly breathe.
I hold the weight of my broken childhood.
I carry the anxiety past down from generations.
There is no firm ground to walk upon.

I am swamped with daily self-doubt.
Not even my own instincts can I trust.
My whole body is sore and tired.

I am reaching bottom.
There is no where else to go.
I am so frightened.

Throw me a rope.
Offer me a way out.
Raise me up.

I am tired of kicking.
Slowly my heart is getting the message.
I need to let go and float.
Catch me, hold me.

Open me up.
Whisper in my ear and cleanse my eyes.
Give me my voice back.

You are near and I can slowly feel your gentle presence.
Calm me down.
Offer me worriless air to breathe.
Your Spirit is new hope within me.

Amen.

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JOURNAL

  1. The weight of the past seems _________________________________.
  2. I have trouble catching my breath in worry because________________.
  3. When I feel pulled down, I ___________________________________.
  4. Help me quit kicking and fighting myself so I ____________________.
  5. God, receive my worry and ___________________________________.

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PRAYER 2

“Jesus, I worry that I will never discover the purpose of my life.”

My family told me I would amount to nothing.
I feel trapped in a cage of worry.
The door is locked from my past.

I fail at everything I touch.
I want to be really good at one thing.
So people would notice and like me.
Then I could escape the trap.

There is something more.
You invite me to look within.

Release me from this snare.
Open my eyes to the real gifts around me.
Help me see my worth.
Heal my discouraging thoughts.

Reveal my purpose to love you.
Satisfy my searching.
Wrap my worry in your gentleness.

I am finally seeing for myself.
My purpose is responding to your invitation.
You are there to receive all of my life.
The cage is unlocked.

Amen.

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JOURNAL

  1. In my depression, worry keeps me _________________________.
  2. You are inviting me to __________________________________.
  3. Release me from the traps of ______________________________.
  4. Open new doors in my heart to _____________________________.
  5. God, you invite me to see _________________________________.

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PRAYER 3

“Jesus, I don’t seem to worry as much as I used to.Is this some new kind of denial?”

I worry about my worry.
My foot is nailed to the floor.
Thoughts race in circles.

Go around again.
The same stories romp through my head.
Violence tramples me.

I am so drained and weary.
No one hears me.
No one can stop my obsession.

Help me circle around new thinking.
Take me around a different corner.
Help me run in your direction.

My own words are the nails in my feet.
My thoughts feed the selfish chase.
Help me rest.

I do not want to worry about my worry.
You can take it from here.
I trust you.

Amen.

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JOURNAL

  1. The triggers that cause me to worry are_______________________.
  2. Worry evolves into obsession for me when ____________________.
  3. I need to take more responsibility for my thoughts and words because _____.
  4. God, calm me so __________________________________________.
  5. Jesus, I know your love in my life when ________________________.

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PRAYER 4

“Jesus, thank you for healing me because I don’t worry about the things people think I should.”

My disease and I are friendlier now.
We have come to understand each other.
My limits are not a surprise any longer.

I still fight others expectations:
Get a new job.
Better yourself.
Clean up your apartment.
Save your money.
Buy new clothes.

But I am making due.
My pace is even and mine.
Time is healing my troubles.

Your grace provides patience.
Finally the message is clear.
Through all the worry of others,
Through all the chatter and complaining,
Through all the put downs,
Through all their arrogance,
I am not worrying.

You provide all I need.

Amen.

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JOURNAL

  1. I realize others are trying to be helpful, but _______________________.
  2. I deal with the expectations of others, when _______________________.
  3. God, help me be patient with my self when others __________________.
  4. God, I am satisfied with myself, because I __________________________.
  5. God, help me be grateful when __________________________________.

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