Prayer or panic

by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

There is panic today in the hearts of many. Some are disheartened because they see no solution in sight. Some believe they can trust no one for viable answers.

A preoccupation with fears and worries often incites panic.

When multitudes desperately begged Jesus for help and answers, he taught them a prayer that was described by Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, as the “prayer which covers all human needs.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Prayer enables us to feel God’s presence and know we are enveloped in His love. And there is power in His presence.

I have suffered many times from panic attacks. When faced with conflict, dilemmas, or any turmoil — whether it was real or perceived — I’ve often become a physical and emotional wreck. So I can testify that when the going gets tough, leaning on God is better than panic.

Taking some deep spiritual breaths in times of crisis, pressure and immense stress, enables us to be comforted and reassured by God’s ever-presence. Panic is replaced by peace, and peace quiets fear and calms anxiety. We reach a state of mind that fosters inspiration and revelation. And then, we can see solutions realized and implemented. Problems that at first seem huge or beyond repair become small (or much smaller) and fixable.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” (Isaiah 26:3) More than a promise, this is a fact and a lesson I have learned — and I must admit — sometimes need to relearn.

The Psalmist wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me….” (Psalms 23:4) It could be said that the “valley” represents any difficult or terrifying experience we face. “For thou art with me” is an eternal Truth that dissipates fear.

The Lord makes us strong when we are weak.

Several days ago I felt like I was getting hit with one catastrophe after another. I found myself waiting for the next shoe to drop. And it did. The pressure in my head and chest was building until one night I could not even lie down and breathe normally. I felt like I was going to explode.

In my anguish, I prayed. I began with The Lord’s Prayer. As my uneasy thoughts began to calm, I let go of the internal struggle. I put aside all the details weighing on my heart. I stopped my mind from hurrying to tomorrow or next week or next year. And I focused only on feeling God’s presence.

“The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Psalms 29:11) And He blessed me with peace. My weary night turned into restful breaths and sleep. And the next morning, I awoke refreshed and still confident of God’s ever-presence.

Stay grounded in your spirituality, dear friends. Rest your thoughts on the spiritual rock, or knowledge, that affirms God’s presence, omnipotence and goodness. Then you’ll be like that wise man Jesus told about in the parable who “built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)

Panic paralyzes, cripples, blinds and stifles. Panic is a reaction — an unconscious choice — that serves no good purpose and isn’t helpful or productive.

When our first instinct is to panic, we can consciously choose to pray. Prayer reassures and reminds us that anything is possible, that possibilities are infinite, and that God is with us. And prayer will enable us to move forward, reach new heights, overcome hurdles, and break new ground.

There is no good time to panic, my troubled friends. Pray and you will persevere.