The definition of worry is well known and easily understood: “Mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated” [Merriam-Webster Dictionary]. Likewise, the definition of worship is also well known though not as easily understood: “An act of expressing reverence offered to a divine being or supernatural power” [Merriam-Webster Dictionary].
We all have many situations which cause us to experience worry. Those of us who believe in a “divine being or supernatural power” have many situations which cause us to worship. Both of these human experiences can be intentional or unintentional. One thing I have learned as a follower of Christ is that worry and worship cannot coexist. When worry fills our hearts we are in no condition to worship God; and as we are worshipping God we cannot start worrying about anything. We may flip back and forth quickly between the two, but never will they both occupy our hearts and minds at the exact same time. Can’t happen. Never has. Never will.
The intentional worries in our lives are situations which we go into knowing that something could happen which causes us to experience mental distress or agitation over what is about to happen. We see a situation ahead and choose worry over peace. We have been here before and know that we “need” to show and feel fear.
On the other hand, when we left our house, the roads were clear and the weather was sunny; but only 20 minutes later we enter a blizzard and the roads are covered with ice. Unintentional fear grabs our heart and mind causing us to grip the steering wheel and slow down considerably.
In the book I share true situations where I and others experienced very real fear, both the “intentional” and the “unintentional” kinds of fear. In hindsight, and of course with guidance by the Holy Spirit, I can easily now see when the fear was replaced by worship. Indeed, the move from worry to worship generally is accompanied by “Thank you Lord” – e.g., my walk from the physician’s office to my car after hearing I had “very aggressive prostate cancer;” after a three-week trial of a complex medical malpractice wrongful death case when the defense attorney presented a “motion for directed verdict” at 11:00pm; and when I drove up the very narrow road leading to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado.
The Merton Prayer’s “I will not fear” is not a magical incantation, but since 1990 when I first read it, those words have helped me live out my belief that worry and worship cannot coexist. Reciting this prayer in moments of fear helps me focus on God and not me, which seems to pretty easily result in more worship and less worry. May God bless you richly with the words of The Merton Prayer – fear is overcome and erased by focusing on the fact that God is “ever with me” and “will never leave me to face my perils alone.” Thank you Lord!
Leave a comment, if you wish, regarding this post or how you found The Merton Prayer and why it is important to you. Thanks for visiting http://www.TheMertonPrayer.com!
5 thoughts on “Worry and Worship Cannot Coexist!”
Steven, this is so true and we need to turn to praise in the midst of worry which causes us to worship. Not easy but needed. Your words were right on, especially as Gerald and I deal with his heart issues.
Hello Steven, Thank you for your blog. I love your stories. I, too, have loved the Merton prayer for decades, and it has gotten me through some tough times. I wrote a little Advent Prayer Journal for my parish this year (attached). The storyteller in you will like some of these stories, most of which I learned as the staff musician for the Houston Cenacle.Â Keep up the blog and your great storytelling! You are awesome! Advent peace and joy,Jacquelyn DarraghPasadena, Texas
Jacquelyn, thank you SO much for your very kind comment. It is so nice to hear of your reliance on this amazing prayer! I would like very much to see your Advent Prayer Journal but could not find it attached. Would you mind resending it to me at TheMertonPrayer@gmail.com? Blessings to you and your family for the Advent Season! —steven denny
Thank you for discussing this important topic as more than ever people are struggling with mental health issues, money problems, insecurity, anxiety, various fears, troubled relationship and some sadly are becoming prescription drug addicts as they try to numb and escape the emotional pain within. Meanwhile the unhealthy side effects of drug use are causing many premature deaths. We need the supernatural power of God Almighty more than ever to set the captives free, heal the hurting within and bring total transformation in people’s lives. The supernatural power of God with prophetic insight to heal and empower humanity is readily available as I’ve experienced around the world. Let’s join hearts in prayer to believe God to touch, save, change and transform our generation and lift us up to where we belong in Him. ~ Paul F. Davis from https://DreamMakerMinistries.com/
Paul, I feel honored to have you read my blog and make such a wonderful comment. You sir are an amazing author! I have just looked at your DreamMakerMinstry site and reviewed on Amazon your amazing catalogue of books you have written! Where do you reside? If you are ever in the Chicago area i would love to treat you to dinner/lunch. Blessings on your ministry and thanks again for reading my blog! -steven