Guest / Limited Access /

Historians will look at the year that just ended as a financial tsunami that left in its wake millions of foreclosed homes, bankruptcies, and lost jobs. As if competing to abandon the basic tenets of capitalism, governments threw money at banks, investment companies, and huge insurers in an attempt to restore trust and stanch the flow of capital.

During one of the most volatile periods, a week in which global stock markets declined by $7 trillion, I received a call from an editor at Time. "You wrote a book on prayer, right?" he said. "Tell me, how should a person pray during a crisis like this?" In the course of the conversation, we came up with a three-stage approach to prayer.

The first stage is simple, an instinctive cry: "Help!" For someone who faces a job cut or health crisis or watches retirement savings wither away, prayer offers a way to voice fear and anxiety. I have learned to resist the tendency to edit my prayers so that they sound sophisticated and mature. I believe God wants us to come exactly as we are, no matter how childlike we may feel. A God aware of every sparrow that falls surely knows the impact of scary financial times on frail human beings.

Indeed, prayer provides the best possible place to take our fears. As a template for prayers in crisis, I look at Jesus' night in Gethsemane. He threw himself on the ground three times, sweat falling from his body like drops of blood, and felt "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." In the midst of that anguish, however, his prayer changed from "Take this cup from me" to "May your will be done." In the scenes of trial that followed, Jesus was the calmest character present. His season of prayer had relieved him of anxiety, reaffirmed his trust in a loving ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

January
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedIs It Robbing God to Tithe on Your After-Tax (Not Gross) Income?
Is It Robbing God to Tithe on Your After-Tax (Not Gross) Income?
The Israelites were never subject to withholding upward of 15 percent.
TrendingAn Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News
An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News
Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. You embarrass us all when you do.
Editor's PickMelinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’
Melinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’
One of the wealthiest and most controversial women in the world believes that all lives have equal value. She’s willing to spend $3.6 billion a year to prove her point.
Comments
Christianity Today
A Surefire Investment
hide thisJanuary January

In the Magazine

January 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.