Worry & Prayer: A Reflection on Community Rule #17
The Mid-Week Missive is based on Community Rules: An Episcopal Manual by Ian Markham and Kathryn Glover, both administrators at Virginia Theological Seminary. I am working my way through this book, reading and writing through the lens of our Life Together as part of the Christ the King Episcopal Church family, as well as part of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast.
Rule #17: Turn Every Worry into a Prayer. Markham and Glover’s reflection on this rule can be found in their book, which can be purchased here.
How does this rule apply to our Life Together at Christ the King? Just this past Monday (September 30), our Daily Office gospel reading was Matthew 6:25-34 (an excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount). In it, Jesus says,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
No disrespect to our Lord and Savior, but my response to this challenge is, “easier said than done!” Quite frankly, I worry a lot. But rather than feel bad about this natural tendency of mine, I can actually turn this into an opportunity to grow closer to God.
Markham and Glover suggest that we turn our worries into prayer. So for those of us who worry a lot, we have the opportunity to pray a lot. And that is a redemptive solution – the more we worry, the more we pray! And ultimately, our constant prayer will transform our hearts and minds in such a way that we worry far less than we used to.
Of course, when we get to where we are able to worry less, we shouldn’t pray any less – our prayers will change just as we will have changed. And such is the pattern of Christ’s redemptive grace…thanks be to God!