The Ultimate Stress Relief
Sermon shared by Wayne Field
Summary: The answer to anxiety is prayer.
Audience: General adults
Praying in advance, is something Jesus did often. Before he chose the twelve disciples – the men who were to be the nucleus of the Church – he spent the entire night before in prayer.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles (Luke 6:12-13)
Another time, Jesus had a very important question he had to ask his disciples. And he prayed about it in advance ...
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, "Who do the crowds say I am?" (Luke 9:20)
And of course, Jesus started the last and greatest day of his life on earth with prayer.
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:39-42)
And we can learn a lot from this last example. Jesus asked the disciples to pray, but they didn’t. Three times he asked them to pray – but they failed to do so. Then, when the crisis came and Jesus was arrested, the disciples were completely unprepared for it.
Jesus, on the other hand, had prayed for most of the night and was ready for anything. Jesus didn’t slink away – Jesus was completely victorious on the toughest, most stressful day of his life!
If you want the ultimate stress relief, take the coming day into your prayers. When you pray about the people you expect to meet, the tasks you’re likely to do and the decisions that have to be made – before the event – it will make all the difference.
I want you to try that this week. It’s the ultimate stress relief.
2. TAKE THE PAST DAY INTO YOUR PRAYERS
If you watch Dr Phil or Oprah or if you read the relationships columns in any lifestyle magazine - you may hear a lot about “closure.” Bringing closure to a series of events or ending a chapter of your life well has many benefits for your emotional, intellectual, physical and even your spiritual health.
There should be no surprise then, that this is in fact a biblical principle. In the Bible the Lord makes it clear that he wants you to ...
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith
(2 Corinthians 13:5a).
You see, when I live an unexamined life, I leave myself open to repeating the same mistakes day after day. When I don’t examine my day I don’t learn from the decisions I’ve made – good or bad! When there’s no closure to my day, I can lose track of why I am here and where I am supposed to be going.
At the end of each day you have the chance to “let off steam” in prayer to God. To get things off your chest so to speak. The ultimate stress relief is to find a still quite place at the end of the day – and review the events of that day in the presence of God who was with you right throughout that day.
So the next principle - if you want some relief – is that you must take the past day into your prayers.
Take time to examine your heart – to confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. Pause to think about what you have
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