| By Pete Burak

In Prayer, Offer Jesus Your Fears

Anyone else remember the gut-wrenching feeling of watching the polar bears at the zoo, tugging on the pant leg next to you, looking up excitedly to share the moment with Dad, only to see a stranger’s face looking down at you? Or walking down an unfamiliar path in the dead of night during a family camping trip and realizing you can’t see anything, there are strange noises in the bushes and wondering if anyone would hear you scream? If you can’t relate to those, picture in your mind a time when you felt alone, isolated, unseen, unknown and, therefore, probably terrified. Fear threatens us when situations, people or environments don’t understand, know us or value our well-being. We can also grow fearful when we can’t clearly see what’s in front of us or understand the challenges we’re facing. Sound familiar? Our collective experience over the past seven months has been one long journey of isolation, along a dimly lit path, with potential threats all around us.

Fear is running wild. Thankfully, we can take comfort from Scripture. We know that “perfect love drives out fear.” (1 Jn 4:18) We know that Jesus has conquered the power of sin and death and it is “for freedom Christ set us free.” (Gal 5:1)  We know we have a good Father who sees us and knows well the plans he has in mind for us – “plans for [our] welfare and not for woe.” (Jer 29:11) We are not alone, we are not forgotten and we are not neglected. Our ability to declare what I just said, believe it to be true and live out of this conviction is only possible if we pray. We need to pray? Yes, it’s no joke, the power we need to live a fully Christian life (free, joyful, peaceful, fruitful) is tied directly to our time spent with God.

While so many of our normal structures and habits have been stripped away or transformed, even a pandemic can’t take away our ability to pray. Our world needs us to actually live like we believe the words in 2 Timothy: “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” (1:7) So here’s the challenge. Over the next month, I’m committing to dedicated time with Jesus every day. I’m going to offer him my fears and struggles, thank and praise him for his gifts and listen to him. Who’s with me?

With him we are more than conquerors, so let us pray.

Pete Burak is the director of i.d.9:16. He has a master’s degree in theology, and is a frequent speaker at events for youth and young adults.