Don’t Pray, Worship

Don’t Pray, Worship

The title, “don’t pray, worship,” may lean towards click bait, but it was a visceral response I recently had to an Instagram post I had seen. A pastor I follow and respect had made a post that said that if you are feeling anxious, you should pray. I appreciate the intent, but it misses the mark for me.

I am not anti prayer. I think it is invaluable. When we are anxious or dysregulated, I believe worship is the better option. Here is why. One thing we know through neuroscience, is that when we become anxious or dysregulated emotionally, our prefrontal cortex (the part that reasons and makes decisions) goes offline. This translates as you can’t talk yourself out of feeling anxious.

When I start to feel agitation rise within, I often try to talk myself out of it. I tell myself that I am safe, nobody is hurt, I will be okay etc. It doesn’t help. In fact, sometimes it makes it worse. Then I get mad at myself for not calming down as the anxious feelings rise.

If I start to pray, which I typically do, it becomes me reiterating my distress and my desire that God take it away from me. When I worship, I focus on praise and gratitude. It doesn’t matter how I worship. My focus is the same praise and gratitude. The focus is no longer on myself and my circumstances. This allows my body to regulate and my thinking brain to come back on line.

28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire! (Hebrews 12:28-19 MSG)

For me, it’s don’t pray, worship. Worship opens my mind to what God has for me. It changes my focus. It centers my wellbeing. I’m choosing to be brimming with worship.

How do you handle feeling anxious? Do you try to talk yourself out of it? Does the mantra, “don’t pray, worship” ring true for you? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Pray, Worship

  1. I have a breath prayer that has come to me over time and it helps when I am anxious, mad, exhausted etc. But I would say it IS also a form of worship, or maybe communion?
    Breathe In. Breathe Out.
    Holy Spirit. Expand within me.
    Lord Jesus Christ Be present with me
    Creator God. Let me live in tune with you and your creation.

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