Matthew 6 is just one of many wonderful passages that we can use as our prayer foundation. Many other biblical passages can even more directly apply to your own situation. Romans 8:28-39 is one such passage. There are many more! The truths needed for our situation are powerfully presented. Just by reading the passage aloud, one can sense its power. Try it.
In times of tribulation, distress, famine, persecution, etc., we need to understand God is in control. None of these circumstances can thwart our goal to serve God. God uses these difficulties to accomplish His great plan.
Let's work through a tough example where feelings and loneliness run so high : the death of a loved one. Although no one likes to think about such an issue, most of us need to cope with this rough situation.
There are two main problems that regularly develop among those left behind that keep them from rightly dealing with the death. They either feel guilty (they didn't do enough) (1), or they are worried about dealing with things alone. Let's focus on the later one dealing with worry from the perspective of the Romans 8 passage.(2) Please note we will follow our 'Triple A' outline on our slide.
Anxious (can't cope without the person)
We will be doing this through a prayer. We vocalize these truths right to God.
Identify ones difficulty. (The reason for praying.)
"I really miss him. I have depended so much on him. What am I going to do without him?! I can't go on.!!"
#1 Affirm God's truths.
"Dear Lord, You are the one who so wonderfully cares for me. You care for a flower; indeed You care for me. Before You were using my husband to care for me, now You will personally oversee my needs. It is true I do not know how to manage certain financial accounts, I don't like to deal with some situations that he could handle so well, but You promised to be with me. Nothing, even death, even the death of my husband, can separate me from Your love. You are there as always. As You have been with me,You will be with me in the future.
I might at times feel that you are so far away and don't care for me, but this is not true. If you sent Your only Son to die for me, then I can be sure of Your constant commitment to me. Thank you. I need that so much. I always do but I recognize it ever so much right now. I know that I will be facing a lot of things that I have never faced. You will use these new circumstances to cause me to come closer to You. I will need to rely on You more. I will see Your faithfulness to me. And I will declare Your wonderful praise."
#2 Ask help for needs.
"Lord, I want to ask you to help me. I feel so alone. I need your companionship. I feel so helpless. You need to be my strength. I feel so vulnerable. You need to be my protection. Come and assure my soul of your mighty work in my hands. Let me begin to look for Your special ways for caring for me. Perhaps it is through people who offer help; perhaps through giving me more wisdom and strength. In any case, you said that no matter what situation I face, Your love will be constant and assured. I have only one life and only so few days left myself. I want to see Your faithfulness. Let me live by faith in your promises rather than the figures in a bank account."
#3 Assess our situation.
"If I am going to trust you, I need to accept the fact that my husband is now gone. There is the temptation to feel cheated or embittered against you. But Your love does not work this way. Your love for me is the same before and after. You are just changing the way that you will care for me. Lord, I want to trust You, even boldly trust You. I want my faith to grow.
I see now that this growth is what you want to do in my life before I go to be with you. I sometimes relied on my husband too much. Please forgive me. Yes, I need to pray more than I have been. Help me be faithful in developing our relationship together, O Lord. I will need Your help. I am desperate for your wisdom. Each day Lord, let me take my concerns before You one by one. And let me see how You answer these prayers. Thank You so much for listening to me. I have so little to give but because of Your constant love, I have so much to live for and to live by. I am so sad but truly so happy. Keep me close. This is a tough time. In Christ's Name I pray, Amen."
The process of dealing with worries is basically the same. We let God's truth help us get a proper perspective of our situation. In this case we looked at the truths in such a way that we were not able to question whether God would still love us during difficult times. The conclusion that ' God has left me' or 'doesn't love me' simply are not true. The conclusion that things are going to be worse or impossible are not true either. His love is constant. His power is great. Notice how our prayers rest on the special truths that are so clearly stated in the Romans 8 passage.
The truth builds up the confidence and faith of His children. We apply these biblical truths by faith even though our situation seems impossible. God is greater yet.
God causes all things to work for good
1) Pick an area that you are struggling with. Find a relevant Bible passage.
2) Write out some truths from the passage that have to do with your situation.
3) Write out 1 or 2 applications from each truth that has to do with that problem.
4) Pray the prayer through using all three steps.
As you begin to regularly do this, you can almost do steps #2 and 3 automatically and go right into prayer. Daily devotions is great practice grounds.
God is for us
God did not spare His own Son
Nothing can separate us from God's love
Biblical passages highlight different truths. It is crucial that you bring His words into your soul before the trial actually occurs. To the degree they are in your soul, they become your supply of ammunition against falsehood. The process to combat worries is the same for little and big worries and stresses of life. We are to affirm God's truths, ask help for our needs and honestly assess our situation in light of His truths.
Remember Sue Gregg? She used what God gave her through the situation to bring much blessing to the world. She trusted God to do something good through the situation.
Let's take a look on how far we have come. Next page
(1) Guilty (didn't do enough)
God is in full control of life and death. We should not think that we are in charge. God defines the length of life. We are men not God. At times people have done wrong things that lead to another's death but it is rare. If so, we need to humbly confess our sins. Even here we can find forgiveness.
Today, we see relatives doing more than enough by prolonging the pain and problems of one approaching death by false medical hopes. But at some point, we need to see life not as in the doctors' hands but in God's hands. God carefully watches over the life of His people. We need to conclude that if God is not going to keep one alive, then He ultimately is calling that person to move on. We are not to bring death on, but if it comes to where we cannot stop it in a kind and compassionate way, we need to stand aside.
The scripture says that death cannot separate His people from His love. This is what we need to focus on. Death itself cannot separate God's love from the Christian we are so concerned about. 38 "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, ... shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
We must confess any wrong. (Make sure it is a wrong. Identify what command you broke.) Accept Christ's forgiveness. But then we need to go on and entrust God's will in taking that person to the Lord. We must keep focusing on Romans 8:38 where even death can not separate him or her from God's love (as God's child). They might be away from us but now they have a greater good. There is no reason to feel guilty. If anything, things are easier and better for them now.
(2) The Healing Process
We should note here that we are not trying to over simplify the healing process from the death of our loved one. Time is needed. There is much pain and sorrow which is normal and often appropriate. Jesus Himself wept over Lazarus' death. But feelings are strong, and those in such situations can often accept unbliblical conclusions that cause much prolonged pain and misery. God's truths preserve us. They keep us on God's path so that we can find His healing. Lies will have us think we are deserted, rejected and will not be helped. Our study here is to help us keep God's truths clear in our minds.