Prayer Under Stress
From time to time we hear news from Homeland Security about the current threat level. As I write this article, the United States governments national threat level is "Elevated," or "Yellow." I wonder what the "stress level" is these days.
We are living in a time where there is so much stress. The uncertainty of our times is putting a lot of pressure on people and it is causing a lot of stress. And it seems the more one listens to the news, the more stressed out they get.
As if there wasnt enough going on, along come reports about a thing called, "Swine Flu."
There are scores of articles how to relieve stress in your life. There have been many books written on the subject. And there are even courses that you could take as well.
In some of the articles that I have read online, that give tips and keys to relieving stress, very few mention prayer. But praying can definitely be a great help in reducing stress. Let me clarify this a bit.
Some people under stress pray prayers of desperation: "Oh God, you gotta help me! I cant take this pressure anymore! Please do something!" Now I do understand how a person can feel very frustrated. But, I am not talking about a desperate prayer. I am talking about taking prayer breaks to talk things over with God.
The Bible talks about Daniel praying three times a day. In other words, we know that at least three times during the day, he took time to pray and talk to God. Whether or not he took any other prayer breaks, we dont know. But for certain, there were three times that he did stop everything that he was doing so that he could pray.
Have you ever considered the situation he was dealing with and the stress he could have allowed to control his life?
Daniel was from Judah. He was captured and taken to Babylon. But because of his absolute trust in God, and, his applying himself to be the best he could be, he ended up with a job as a very high ranking government official.
Now this is amazing. Imagine your country going to war, taking captives back to your capital, and one of them becomes a high ranking government official. Imagine a foreigner running things and in effect telling you what to do. How would you feel? You can read how there were a number of natives of the land who hated him.
Now that could cause a little stress.
What about Daniels boss? I hear people from time to time talk about their boss and what a mean person they are. I hear others talk about not wanting to work at a company because the boss is not a Christian?)
Daniels boss was an unbelieving pagan dictator. Would you like to trade your boss for his boss? And lets not forget that it was common that if the dictator did not like what you were doing, he could simply have you executed. No due process, no trial with fair representation, no opportunity to appeal; just a very quick execution.
Yet, in spite of all those conditions, for many, many years, and even under different governments, Daniel managed to keep his job. He could have allowed all the stress around him to affect him in a negative way, but he didnt. One of the things that Daniel did was to pray to God three times a day, even when it was illegal.
There was an occasion when Daniels enemies persuaded the king to sign a decree, that if anyone asked a petition of any God, or man, for thirty days, except of the king, that person would be cast into a den of lions.
Those prayers breaks must have been very important for Daniel, for he neither stopped praying three times a day, nor did he try to hide it. And, if youre familiar with the record, he was arrested and thrown into a den of lions. God delivered him from that pit unharmed. Then his accusers were tossed in for causing all the trouble, and the lions had a feast!
How important that time in prayer must have been to Daniel. It was a time to take a break from all that was going around him and just talk things over with God. It was a time to remind himself that as he trusted God, God would continue to take care of him.
It was a time of asking for Gods help, but also a time of recommitting his trust and confidence in a God who does deliver when we trust and believe Him. Daniel was doing his best. The Bible says that he was faithful, and that his enemies could not find any grounds for accusation, or evidence of corruption, or negligence. Thats why they came up with the, "No prayer for thirty days" idea.
So, do your best. Continue to improve your skills and abilities go to God on a consistent basis. Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. Release and let go of any fear that you have and replace it with confidence in a loving and powerful God.
And when you feel stressed out, take some prayer breaks!
Michael A. Verdicchio offers a FREE special report, "9 Keys to Answered Prayer!" for signing up to his weekly news letter, "The Pep Letter," at http://www.ConfidenceAndJoy.com He also offers a FREE 71 page eBook, entitled, "Keys To Enriching Your Life Now!" at http://www.EnrichingYourLifeNow.com Michael is a husband, father, minister, author, and broadcaster. He has been the voice on numerous projects and productions including Mikes Pep Talks!