(Continued from yesterday)
So you take your anxious, stressful concerns and worries to God. It may help for a couple of moments but soon you are back in the same place that you were. You are still full of anxiety! You wonder what you are doing wrong. You wonder if this is just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo and it really doesn't work anyway.
What went wrong?
You didn't release your anxiety. You just talked about God taking it from you.
A few years ago I caught some baby raccoons in my attic. They had lost their mother and had no way to survive. I gave them to a friend who took care of them until they could be released into the wild. He talked about releasing them. He knew that he had to release them but he had become so attached to them that it was very hard to do. They would follow him wherever he went. He knew that they were wild and living with him and his family was not good for him or his family. One day, he took them to the woods and let them go.
People know they need to release their anxieties but they do more talking about it and wishing that they would than releasing them. For some reason, they have become attached to their anxieties. They don't know how to live without them. Therefore, they will go to spiritual warfare seminars to release the demons within themselves but never realize that the real oppressor is their own action of keeping their anxieties close to their hearts.
If you want to really get rid of your anxieties you have to give them to God.
Also, people often focus on their anxieties rather than on God when they are in prayer. They don't acknowledge that God is bigger than their problems. They don't state by faith that God is taking this away from them. Therefore, they make their anxieties bigger than God can handle (in their own minds) and must never give them to God.
Imagine you have a debt of $100k. Your little sister says that she can take care of it for you. However, you believe she only has $100 not $100k. You wouldn't dare give her your debt. She can't handle it and it would still be yours even if you did give it to her.
Your prayers need to focus on God who can and will take your anxieties from you. You need to focus on the fact that He is bigger than those problems and they will not be a burden to Him. Only then, will you release your burdens to the Lord.
Lastly, many people take God for a "fast food god." They think they can drive up to the god window having ordered their "McAnxiety Reliever" without any spiritual preparation. It just doesn't work that way. Some prayers can be said quickly. God does not award us for the length or beauty of our prayers. Yet, some prayers have to be sustained long enough so that our own hearts are changed. This is the reason for persistent prayer. It changes us.
I have told my congregation that some days I have to pray until I can pray. This means I must be changed before my prayers truly come in line with God's will. It means that I must pray until I believe what I am doing is what God really wants in me. It means I must pray until I become extremely honest with God.
Release your anxiety. It is what God has wanted you to do. He will take it.
And if you take it back, make sure you don't keep it. Give it to Him again.
1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.