Coming to church is great, but the real excitement of being a Christian happens during the rest of our week: in our homes, jobs, and relationships. That’s because the rest of the week brings real emotions, both positive and negative, and these emotions are intended to bring us nearer to God.
- How do I handle my emotions?
- What role do they play in my life?
- How do I handle painful emotions?
Prayer is directly connected with how we well we handle emotions. The easiest and quickest way to handle emotions is to harden to them and to quit. It’s simply easier to avoid wrestling through them with God. Sometimes we give our emotions free reign, but it’s a dangerous road when our emotions are leading our lives.
We all have to decide: Will I let my emotions lead me to God or lead me away from God?
Prayer is the secret to happiness. Talking to God about how we feel gives us the faith and strength to lead our families spiritually and emotionally. Without prayer, we will always find ourselves lacking.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Psalm 34:4-7 (NLT)
- Do I believe that God listens to and answers my prayers?
- Do I believe that unhappiness is rooted in a lack of prayer?
We all have true emotions that are hard for us to face… fear, desperation, shame, among others. Happiness and joy come when we take the time to learn to pray through those truths, and believe in God’s power to help us.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT)
Fearing God means respecting him and acknowledging that God is great and He is in control. Go through your life and see how great God has treated you. Do you go to God to meet your needs or go to people for attention?
The hardest part about praying may be having to give up control. Prayer is following God’s lead and feeling good about it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. 16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. 17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. 20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!
Psalm 34:15-20 (NLT)
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” That means that God is close to us when we decide to give up control and allow ourselves to need Him.
What negative thoughts and beliefs about God stop you from giving up control? If you don’t address those false beliefs about God, you won’t find relief in prayer.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers.Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NLT)
We all feel pressure in life. And we feel different pressure points at different times.
Which of these pressure points is weighing on you the most?
- Sin & Temptation (Genesis 29 – Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife)
- Leadership (Exodus 18 – Moses and Jethro)
- Life Transition (Matthew 9 – Wineskins)
- Relevancy (John 12 – Loss and Renewal)
The Blame Game
A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
Proverbs 19:3 (NIV)
Are you facing the pressure in your life, or are you blaming God and blaming people? Taking responsibility for our lives, circumstances, and the results of our decisions the first step towards changing.
Turning Things Around
8-9 I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.
10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (MSG)
How can you let your emotions turn you back to God?
Closer to God
11-12 And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come out of this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter.
2 Corinthians 7:11-12 (MSG)
At the end of the day, every pressure we face and every emotion we feel is an opportunity to build a closer relationship with God. When we pray, we grow.
- How can you start prioritizing prayer everyday?
- How can you change the way you pray so that you allow your emotions to lead you closer to God?