3 Ways to Pray Through Painful Emotions

Prayer and insight to release anger, fear and other negative emotions

Posted in , Jun 24, 2013

A Prayerful Approach to Painful Emotions

In the struggle with fear and anger, it’s hard to imagine that we will ever be able to banish painful emotions from our lives. Addressing fear and anger in a prayerful way requires change. If what we’ve been doing worked, we wouldn’t be stuck in these negative cycles, struggling even to pray. It may seem simpleminded to say that the best antidote to a negative cycle is positive thinking, but it’s also quite often true. Here are some prayerful actions that can help you release anger and overcome fear in your life:

1. Find a quiet place to say the Our Father.
When you reach the phrase,“forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” stop and think about what this means: Yes, there are people I need to forgive, but most of them may feel that I need forgiveness from them. Envision what it would be like if you managed to forgive each other. Using these new thoughts and perspectives, try to change the negative cycle.

2. Every morning when you wake up, ask God to help you to release your fear and anger to Him today—just this one day.
Trust that He will take this burden from you if you don’t hold on to it so tightly.Work to stay aware of the need to release your anger whenever you become aware of it during the day, asking for God’s help as often as necessary.You might even try flexing your fingers in a “letting go” gesture when you begin to feel afraid and angry.

3. Every night before you go to bed, ask God to forgive you for the fear and anger you’ve shown that day.
Make this presleep prayer knowing that God is ready, willing and able to forgive you—much more than you may be willing to forgive yourself or others. Then, deliberately and calmly recall the day’s moments of fear and anger, and ask God to forgive you for each of them and to remove the sting of pain you may have caused others. Fall asleep in the certainty that God has forgiven you, and that He’s cheering you on for the days to come.

We do well to remember that our transformation is the work of God; when it happens to us, it will be His gift.


This article is an excerpt from How to Pray When You Think You Can't

View Comments