Praying Scripture Back To God (repost)

(A repost from a few years ago)  

            I have reached such a difficult place in life, full of anxiety and depression and hopelessness, that I don’t know what to do anymore.  I don’t know how to fix it.  But something that I have been curious about, but never tried, was the idea of praying scripture back to God.  It’s taking the promises that He has given us in His Word and praying them to Him, basically telling Him which promises we are grabbing onto and trusting Him to fulfill.  
            I have tried just about everything else I can think of to get through my anxiety (except medication and therapy, which isn’t out of the question).  But the things I have tried only seem to help on a surface-y level.  And I can tell that my soul needs something more.  And so what I did was look up the verses that speak the most to me and put them into prayers.  And I am going to try praying these back to God.  Even just reading His promises is comforting to my soul.  Here are some of the ones I have written up so far.  (I’ll add more as I write them and probably repost them individually.)  I hope they help you, if you need it.
            (Update: Since writing this post, I have learned that praying Scripture and speaking it out loud when needed is very effective in our emotional struggles and spiritual battles.  In fact, it's far more effective than any of the other techniques I've tried to calm myself down.  When you are struggling badly, go to the Word for some verses that speak to your need and situation, and turn them into prayers and then pray them out loud.  And write them down, too.  Keep a record of them.  Trust me, it helps in a way nothing else does.)   

(These prayers have been slightly updated from when I first posted them.)

Prayer #1:  Anxiety
Psalm 55:22:  “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Philippians 4:6-7:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

John 14:27:  “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.”

            Lord, You say that we can present to You all of our concerns and needs.  You say that You will never let us fall, that You will sustain us, and that we will be filled with Your peace, if we are praying with thanksgiving.  
            Well, I am pouring out my fears and doubts and concerns right now to You.  I am acknowledging how weak I am and how much I need You.  I am casting my cares on You because they are too heavy for me.  I need Your help.  I need to put them in Your hands and let go of them because the weight is crushing me. 
            And I thank You for all of Your faithfulness in the past, how You have always helped me through the hard times and have never left me alone.  I thank You that You can handle the things that I can’t, that You can carry the burdens that are too heavy for me, and that You care about me enough to help me when I fall and to hold me when I hurt.  
            Now Lord, please, I need Your peace, the kind of peace that protects my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  I feel scared and vulnerable and fragile and so broken.  I have no peace of my own.  I need Yours, please.  Thank You for being a God that truly cares about us and that won’t leave us alone in our pain.  Thank You for being faithful.  Thank You for being there, even if no one else is.  And I am going to trust that You are going to carry me through this.  Amen.   

Prayer #2:  Fear and Peace
2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.”

Isaiah 41:10: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

2 Timothy 1:7:  “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of sound-mind.”

Isaiah 26:3:  “You will keep in perfect peace he whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

            Lord, I feel completely hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.  Life is bearing down on me, and it’s too much for me to handle alone.  I need You.  Every moment.  I need You to keep me from going under all the way.  I feel so broken, and I can’t fix it on my own.  Please, help me.  Keep me from feeling crushed, in despair, abandoned, and destroyed. 
            You say that You will be my strength, that I don’t have to be afraid because You are with me.  Well, I need to feel Your presence now.  I need to sense that You are with me.  Before I crack completely.  
            Lord, this spirit of fear that I am living under is not from You.  I know that.  But my own mind has become an enemy.  Please, Lord, help me.  You give us a spirit of power, of love, and of sound mind.  And I need that power and love and sound mind right now. 
            I am making a trade with You, Lord.  I am giving You my fear and anxiety and unanswered questions, and I am asking You to give me Your peace and power and love and sound mind in return.  I cannot seem to make my mind do what I want it to do.  But Your Word says that You will keep in perfect peace the person whose mind is set on You.  My job is not to make things peaceful, but to set my mind on You, and then You will bring me peace.  Help me to set my mind on You.  Help me to block out the enemy’s whispers.  Help me to hear only You, to trust in You, and to feel Your peace. 
            Lord, I need You!  Amen

Prayer #3:  Brokenhearted and Exhausted
Psalm 34:17-18:  “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Matthew 11:28-30:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

1 Peter 5:6-7:  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Romans 8:28:  “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

            Lord, I am crying out to You right now.  I am brokenhearted and I need You.  You promise to save those who are crushed in spirit.  You promise to lighten my burden and to help my soul find rest.  I need that right now.  Please, help me find rest for my soul. 
            I am falling down before You right now, weary and exhausted.  I cannot keep carrying the burdens I have been carrying, and so I am putting them down at Your feet right now.  Help me learn what Your yoke is - the jobs and responsibilities that You want for me, not the more burdensome ones that I place on myself.  Help me to let go of my heavier and harder yoke so that I can take up Your lighter and easier one instead.  In fact, I realize now that depression and anxiety and fear are burdens that I have been carrying around, and they have become so crushing that I can't carry them anymore.  I am putting them down now.  I cannot bear them any longer, so I am giving them to You to carry instead. 
            Lord, I admit that I have been trying to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders,  but it’s too much for me.  And it never was my responsibility to begin with.  And so I am putting the responsibilities that are not mine back into Your hands and asking You to take care of the things that I can’t take care of, the things that I shouldn't be trying to take care of.  I cannot carry the world's problems or anyone else's problems.  I cannot even carry my own problems by myself.  I am not big enough or strong enough.  But You are.  And so I am trusting in Your wisdom and Your capable hands to carry all these problems and to help me through them.  I am humbling myself before You, admitting that You are God and I am not.  I cannot keep trying to do Your job.  And so I am getting off of Your throne and humbling myself at Your feet and asking You to lift me up again when it is time. 
            I trust that You really do care for me and that You can handle my concerns, and so I give You all of my anxieties right now and ask You to fix them in Your time and in Your way.  (Maybe list each anxiety right now, on paper or out loud, and pray them over to the Lord.)  Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness and for being able to handle the things that I can’t, for promising to work good things out of all the messes in life.  Please, just put Your arms around me right now and give me Your comfort.  Tell me that You are with me and that it will be okay.  Show me Your glory.  Amen     

Prayer #4:  Resting in the Lord
Matthew 6:25-34:  “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? . . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Proverbs 3:5-6:  “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Psalm 46:1-3, 10:  “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. . . . Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 37:7:  “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…”

Psalm 25:9:  “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way…”

            Lord, You know how easily I give in to worry, to the concerns of life, the fear of the unknown, the fear that I will make too many mistakes and mess everything up and be too weak to handle everything.  You know that I can make myself crazy with fear.  But it’s hurting me.  It’s exhausting me.  It’s crushing me.  And I can’t do it anymore.  And I know that You never wanted me to live that kind of fearful life anyway.  I have been choosing it because I have let myself believe that it all rests on me, that I am alone in this and that I have to be big enough and strong enough and wise enough. 
            But I don’t have to be “enough” . . . because You are.  I don’t have to listen to Satan every time he says, “You see that burden right there?  You better pick it up.  There’s another one.  It’s yours, so pick that one up, too.  Have you thought about this concern and this other fear?  They’re your responsibilities, too, so you better carry them because no one else will.”
            Satan lies.  And I have been listening to him for too long.  I have been listening to the one who wants to discourage me and exhaust me and crush me.  And most of the burdens that I have been carrying around were never my burdens, my concerns, or my responsibilities to begin with.    
            You don’t ask me to take responsibility for most of the things that I worry about.  The only things that You really ask of me are that I live humbly before You, that I do the daily jobs that You have given me and let You take care of everything else, that I bring You glory in whatever I do, and that I rest in You and trust in You.  Because You are God and I am not!  You are the One who is big enough and strong enough and wise enough.  And I am not alone in this world.  You are there with me, carrying me and making things work out right and straightening out the path, if only I will trust You enough to let You do it. 
            And so I am throwing myself upon You right now.  I am going to lean on You now, instead of on myself.  I am going to trust in You to make my path straight, to handle the things I can’t handle, to know the things I can’t know, to work things out for the best, and to carry my concerns and my fears.  Even when it feels like the earth is falling apart, You are still there.  You are still in control and holding in all together and will make everything work out for good. 
            I don’t have to always know what to do . . . because I know You.  And You will guide me in the right path and take care of me and handle my concerns and keep me safe and bring me peace.  My focus today is not to fix anything or make everything okay; it’s just to be still in You and to know that You are God.  You are my refuge and my strength.  And I will trust in You and put my hope in You.  Amen

Prayer #5:  When you fear you’re failing in life:
Proverbs 3:5-6:  “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 16:3:  “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”

Colossians 3:23-24:  “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Jesus you are serving.”

1 Corinthians 10:31:   “ . . . whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Romans 8:28:  “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Matthew 6:19-21:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in a steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 25:21:  “… ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’”

            Lord, you know how anxious I am, how much I feel like I am failing at everything, like everything is falling down around me and I can’t keep it together.  I need You now, Lord.  I need to know that I am doing okay.  (And if I'm not, then I need to know what needs to change.)
            Please, Lord, speak words of comfort to my anxious, despairing heart.  To the part of me that feels like I’m going to let You and everyone else down, no matter what I do or how hard I try.  To the part of me that just never feels “good enough.”
           Lord, You promise to work everything for good.  Please take my feeble efforts and use them for Your glory.  Make something beautiful out of my messes and my shortcomings.  Sometimes I feel like that’s all I am capable of – messes and shortcomings.  But I know You can turn them into something good, because Your Word says so.  I might not be able to do much, but please take the little I do and work it for Your glory.  (And reveal to me if there is something that I claim to do for Your glory and purposes but that I am actually doing for my own glory and purposes.)
            Lord, You know my heart and my motives.  You know that I want to please You, that I am trying my best to do my best at the jobs You have given me.  Please, be glorified in that, and help me know that I am doing okay in Your eyes, for I feel like I am failing in the eyes of so many others, including my own.
            You say that if we trust You and lean on You then You will make our paths straight.  Please, Lord, I am leaning on You now.  I don’t always know the right step to take, so I need You to straighten the path as I walk.  And when I don’t have the strength to keep walking, I need You to carry me.  And when I don’t even have the strength to stand, please, Lord, just hold me for awhile and let me know that it’s going to be okay.
            Help me remember that it’s not my job to always know which way to go in life or to be “strong enough,” but that my job is simply to let You lead, to lean on You when I am weak, to follow You in daily obedience, to work at whatever I do with all my heart for Your glory, and to let You work it all out for good and for Your purposes.
            The Bible says that if I commit my plans to You, Lord, they will succeed.  Well, I am committing my plans to You – the work I do everyday.  I want to do it for Your glory, Your purposes, and Your kingdom.  Help me remember to do my best simply because it matters to You, because You see what I do and why I am doing it.  And what I do matters to You, even if no one else sees it.  Guide me along as I go, as I do the jobs You give me each day.  Lead me in the direction You want me to go.  Use my efforts as You want to, whether they appear successful to the world or not.
            I know that I might not see the rewards of my work, my efforts, here on earth or on this side of eternity, but may I be successful, Lord, in Your eyes, in the heavenly realms.  Help me remember to always work for eternity, not for the things I can see.  Help me build up treasures in heaven as I wait to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  For Your glory and Your kingdom, Amen

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