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 Anxiety  Holistic-online.com

Overcoming Fear and Anxiety With Prayer and Spirituality

Fear is a reality of life. It is true for believers and anyone else. However, those who are grounded in faith and spirituality, find that they have God to lean back on when the going gets tough.

We don't have to let fear defeat us. We can triumph over it and feel safe.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

Building a Sense of Confidence

The faith can help us overcome fear. We can't expect God to protect us from every evil of the world during this life. But we can have utter confidence that we are, indeed, loved by God, and that, ultimately, we will be redeemed.

We can take solace in knowing that we are loved by God. That knowledge should provide us with reassurance.

Many theologians believe that fear is a form of suffering. The key is to accept it for what it is and not to indulge it. Think less of what may come to us and our loved ones and more of who God is and what God wants. Then we turn ourselves over to the love and the care of God.

God has promised us eternal peace. Do not be afraid.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).

The way to find and keep peace is outlined for us by the Prophet Isaiah: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isa. 26:3). We find God's will (and His peace) by staying grounded in our spirituality, where we find His will for our lives.

One of the most peaceful thoughts in the entire world was written by the Apostle Paul: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28). If we truly believe this promise and appropriate it for our daily living, we will know complete and abiding peace. The divine promise remains true: "The Lord will bless his people with peace" (Ps. 29:11).

Countless multitudes have ridden themselves of their fear knowing the power in God's presence

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me. (Psalm 23:4)

Henry Ward Beecher says the Twenty-third Psalm is the nightingale of the Psalms. The nightingale sings its sweetest when the night is darkest. And for most of us death is the most terrifying fact of life. Death makes us afraid. We feel so helpless and alone.

Of course, "the valley of the shadow of death" refers to more than the actual experiences of physical death. It has been translated, "the glen of gloom." It might refer to every hard and terrifying experience of life.

The Basque Sheepherder describes an actual Valley of the Shadow of Death in Palestine. It leads from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and is a very narrow and dangerous pathway through the mountain range. The path is rough, and there is danger that a sheep may fall at any moment to its death.

It is a forbidding journey that one dreads to take. But the sheep is not afraid. Why? Because the shepherd is with it.

And so come those dark places in life through which we are compelled to pass. Death is one. Disappointment is another. Loneliness is another. Phobias, compulsions, obsessions, and reliving traumatic experiences fill us with fear.

If you feel you are in "the valley of the shadow," get off to a quiet place. Quit struggling for a little while. Forget the many details. Stop your mind for a little while from hurrying on to the morrow and to next year and beyond.

Just stop, become still and quiet, and in the midst of your "glen of gloom" you will feel a strange and marvelous presence more powerfully than you have ever felt it before. Many have felt that presence-they have heard the nightingale sing in the darkness.

Wherever my pathway leads, I will not be afraid, "for thou art with me." There is power in His presence. Countless multitudes have ridden themselves of their fear knowing that eternal truth.

Excerpted from: God's Psychiatry by Charles L. Allen

God Provides us strength against life's storms

Where is your faith? (Luke 8:25).

If the devil has another name, it is Fear. He strives to enter our minds and put a fear in us that is a living thing. It nags us. Nauseates us-literally makes us sick. Follows us. Torments us.

Jesus dealt with fear by pointing to faith as the answer. In the height of the storm on Galilee, His disciples were overcome with fear. Then they asked Him a question that only increased their doubts and fears: "Master, carest thou not that we perish?"

Jesus did not withdraw from the human stream, from the misery and the torments that we pass through. He developed a way of life, a rhythm of a time to seed and harvest; a faith in God as the source of supply and a relationship with God that gave Him strength on the inside so that when He was in these problems He could rest, He could have a calmness of spirit.

After Jesus calmed the storm, He asked the disciples, "Where is your faith? Why were you so afraid?" He was saying, 'Look, the very faith I have in My Father you can have. The very fact that I was able to find strength to relax and be strong in this storm means that you can find that same strength. You don't have to be afraid. Why are you so fearful when you can have this relationship with God, when you can open up yourself and give and expect a miracle? Where is your faith?"

Our feelings will lie to us. In life we are dealing with reality, not just feelings. When we analyze the problem of fear, nine times out of ten we find that we are guilty of wrong believing. We are believing that God doesn't care what happens to us. This is what Satan, "the father of lies' would have us believe. Faith and fear both come from our believing. Wrong believing brings fear. Right believing brings faith.

Excerpted From: Oral Roberts' Favorite Healing Scriptures

Action Steps

Kenneth W. Caine and Brian P. Kaufmann in their book 'Prayer, Faith and Healing' suggested several actions you can take to face and manage fear.

Use reasonable precautions.

If you are fearful of crime, take practical steps to improve security at home and when we travel. This helps prevent crime. It also makes us feel better. Even small steps, such as leaving the light on at night, help soothe fears considerably following traumatic experiences.

Seek help.

Fears can develop into debilitating phobias if left unchecked. Seek professional help if you are having a hard time handling your fears. When fear becomes immobilizing or interferes with your normal functions, it's time to seek counseling.

Face fear head on.

A fear faced is often a fear defeated.

An old saying goes, "Boats are safe anchored in the harbor, but that's not what boats are made for."

A person was frightened of speaking in front of groups. Her boss asked her to make a presentation at a staff meeting. When she stood up, she realized that she was nervous, and said so. Her throat was dry, and she took a drink of water. Then she began. Acknowledging her fears and focusing momentarily on something else-getting a drink of water-helped her through the moment. The next time she spoke, she wasn't quite so nervous.

The young woman had prayed to Jesus before the meeting, asking directly for His help in dealing with her fear.

Accentuate the positive.

The Apostle Paul in his letters in the bible wrote frequently of the need to focus on the good things in life, not the bad. "Whatever is true," he wrote to the Philippians, "whatever is honorable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

To turn your mind away from your fear, make a list of pleasant thoughts and memories and add to it regularly. When you are tempted to start dwelling on something negative, you will have something that's good and true to put in your minds to replace it with.

Turn off sources of bad news.

The evening news is often full of stories about crime, horror, and terrorism. Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers, the US television showed the image of the planes attacking the world trade center repeatedly followed by the image of the towers collapsing. Exposure to this type of news and images are unsettling to many. Studies of television viewers show that people who spent lot of time watching television perceive a more violent world.

When you are overwhelmed by what you are seeing on the TV, turn off the TV. If you don't want to turn it off, close your eyes, or think of pleasant things.

Keep your spirituality strong.

Pay attention to your spiritual life. It will help you tide over the difficult times. Keep up regularly on prayer, worship, fellowship, and service.

A lot of our insecurities come from an unspoken awareness that we've veered off the path from God or from our inner fear that we're not living as we're called to live. Being strong spiritually, means that we feel that we are walking where we are meant to walk, and that we are being watched and protected by God. There's enormous security in that feeling.

Participate in community activities.

Spirituality allows us to being part of communities such as church. Communities can provide their members opportunities for mutual cooperation and support. Community is an important element of our spiritual security blanket. We can do much to allay our fears if we wrap ourselves tightly in a network of believers by attending services regularly, participating in church social activities, and doing volunteer service. Studies conducted in Duke University in the US has shown that church activities provided health benefits.

See Also:

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders by Prayer/Spirituality

Keys to Overcoming Worry and Anxiety by Spirituality

Healing Words: Bible Verses Useful in Warding off Anxiety

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