My dog has a problem. He’s deathly afraid of pings and dings and blaring buzzers. Cellphone noises really get his goat. As soon as someone’s phone pings, Riff leaps in my lap, shaking and suffering as if he’s facing a shot at the vet. Riff’s idea of doggy hell is enduring the moments my sister enters transactions for the family business into Quick Books. The cheery alert that tells my sister the transaction is complete utterly terrifies my poor pooch. Oh, and don’t even get me started about the dryer buzzer.
I have no clue what happened to Riff’s little psyche to cause this “ping-a-phobia,” but I think he needs a canine tranquilizer, at least for bookkeeping and laundry days.
Irrational fears may seem silly to folks watching, but, for the afraid ones, they are serious business.
Fear is the next prayer topic Priscilla Shirer hits in her book, Fervent.
Now, we’re not talking about the “a bear is chasing me through the forest” kind of fear. We’re talking about: “Incessant worry. Up-all-night anxiety. Worst-case scenarios becoming the only probabilities you can think about” (Shirer p. 107).
Ever been there? Me too.
We clearly know from Scripture that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV). So whenever you sense a “spirit of fear” invading any particular area of your life, you can know by process of elimination that’s it’s not coming from God…which only leaves one other spiritual place it could be originating from…which ought to make you wonder why it’s there. Aren’t you at least a little bit curious what [Satan’s] trying to keep you from experiencing? (Shirer p. 110)
Good question, Priscilla.
Satan loves it when we’re paralyzed by fear because, if we’re paralyzed, we’re not moving forward into the plans God has for us.
Hear Priscilla Shirer’s encouragement:
Hear me out, and hear me good. I’m about to write a long, run-on sentence, but I want you hanging on every word. If God has given you clear direction … –direction that’s confirmed by His written Word and by the sounding board of wise, godly counsel–and your only real reason for resisting Him is because you’re afraid of what following Him down this path might mean or cost or entail, then you’re not only on the threshold of being disobedient, you’re about to miss an opportunity to give God some fresh, new glory by doing what He’s wanting to do through you, which is the true impetus behind His invitation for you to join Him on this scary adventure in the first place.
I don’t know about you, friend, but I don’t want to miss a thing God has for me, especially not because I was paralyzed by fear Christ died for me not to have.
“In fervent prayer, we discover something: Our God is fearless. And because He is fearless, we can be fearless, too” (Shirer p. 113).
Let’s do our part and allow our powerful God to do His. Let’s pray.
Scattered across Scripture’s landscape, You speak the courageous message, “Fear not!”
You spoke it to a childless old man struggling to accept Your promise of descendants as vast as seashore sand (Genesis 15:1).
You spoke it to a banished mother wondering how she and child would survive (Genesis 21:17).
You spoke it to the Israelites again and again as they faced all manner of trials (Isaiah 43:1).
You spoke it to Daniel as You planted prophesies in his mind and on his lips (Daniel 10:12).
You spoke it to Joseph, so he’d take Mary as his wife and his Savior as his son (Matthew 1:20).
You spoke it to fishermen as You charged them to be fishers of men (Luke 5:10).
You spoke it to a grieving father before You raised his daughter to life (Luke 8:50).
You spoke it to weeping women at an empty tomb (Matthew 28:5).
You spoke it to Paul before he received a royal audience (Acts 27:24).
You spoke it to old-man John as You gave him a vision of heaven (Revelation 1:17).
Fear is a natural response to all kinds of challenging situations. We may not be able to control being splashed by it, but we can choose not to go for a swim. Make me fearless, Lord.
When the odds are against me.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:4-5 NIV).
When the calling seems too much for me.
The Lord said to me, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”
I answered, “Oh, Lord God, I really do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.”
The Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to protect you,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 1:4-8 NET).
When I can’t see You in my circumstances.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV).
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8 NIV).
Your loving eye is on me, Lord. I will not be afraid.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN
Are you ready to make a battle plan for serious, specific and strategic prayer? Click on this affiliate link and get a copy of Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent. You’ll be glad you did.