Business leaders are facing countless difficult decisions. For many, it feels as if progress toward prosperity has come to a screeching halt. Amid all the uncertainty of our times, small businesses began to lift fervent prayers for business success like no time in recent history.
In the months preceding the pandemic, it seemed to many business leaders that they could coast their way to wealth. They felt confident that their past efforts to make a successful business would carry them through. Then our world turned upside down with health concerns. In such an unprecedented time, many small business leaders turned to the Lord for counsel, guidance, and provision. That has proved to be a good practice. Prayer is now and always has been powerful and effective. The Word of the Lord says that the prayers of the righteous avail much.
What would happen if businesses began to consistently lift a prayer for success? Not only when hardships dampen hopes to succeed—but daily? Imagine the result of seeking the Lord to ask for help to follow Biblical principles and run God-honoring businesses—even during prosperity? What if business leaders offered these kinds of prayers for business success:
- Consistent prayers for business growth
- Fervent prayers for success and prosperity
- Passionate prayer for successful business transactions
- Ongoing prayer for business breakthrough
- Heartfelt prayer for more customers
- Sincere prayers for profitable sales
Imagine the impact if business owners turned to the Lord to determine what the Bible says about honoring God in business, or making sound decisions? A lot could change—for the better.
Why A Business Should Offer Prayers for Success
The uncertainty of lockdown has taken a marked toll on businesses. World governments took a stance never before seen and mandated business closures or imposed regulations that were too extreme for small businesses to endure. Many business leaders felt as if control over their organizations had been stripped away. It felt as if many decisions were no longer theirs to make, which made leaders feel powerless to steer things in a positive direction. Too often for entrepreneurs, it felt as if someone else was in control of their business practices. A sense of frustration and hopelessness ruled the day.
The truth is, it shouldn’t be so hard to prosper in the marketplace and work for the financial security of our children. And yet the health crisis has crushed the job market and made it feel nearly impossible for any business to thrive.
So what good can it bring to offer prayers for business success?
The Bible says “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24, ESV). This applies to prayers lifted for personal matters and business concerns alike.
Prayer is also a trusted way to gain wisdom. When we ask God for wisdom, direction, and guidance, He gives it freely. Consider James 1:5 (ESV) which says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
The Hope that Prayer for Business Brings
Many Christian entrepreneurs and ministry leaders already know the power of prayer. Seeking the Lord calms anxiety, turns hearts toward gratitude, and helps us know that we are never alone. Communing with God and seeking His strength for all of our concerns is a basic tenet of the Christian faith.
When we forsake the practice of prayer, we’re often consumed with worry. Our focus becomes fixed on the problems we see and our minds feel overtaken with fear for the future. Without prayer, it’s far too easy to lose hope, to feel overwhelmed—without direction, and utterly alone.
Yet the moment we begin to pray, we can sense God’s nearness and the hope of Jesus Christ. We’re able to cast our cares upon the Lord knowing that He will carry them on our behalf because He cares so greatly for us (see 1 Peter 5:7). The psalmist declared,
“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18, NIV).
We’re wise to thank the Lord for His provision and remember to actively call on God. Amen?
Offering Prayer for Guidance Through Business Decisions
As a small business owner, I’ve faced many challenges over the past months. At moments it felt as if my business wouldn’t survive the pandemic. Leads dried up, customers put services on hold, and uncertainty ruled the day.
As I prayed over my business, I discerned the Lord prompting me to pivot—to rethink what I offered. When I began to pray I felt God bring fresh ideas along with the wisdom and training opportunities to carry them out. When things looked bleak, I continued to walk in hope and remembered to thank Jesus for His guidance. As a result, the last half of 2020 brought more financial success and opportunity than the prior three years combined. I’m now coaching business owners to clarify and strengthen their online marketing message so that customers are invited to envision the story of their own well-being.
By offering prayer to the Lord, I am confident that I’m walking in His path, pursuing His purpose for my life, and enjoying a meaningful business. I believe every business owner should feel confident—even amid uncertain times in our economy. Prayer is one of the ways to achieve that.
Faithfulness in Prayer Can Lead to Prosperity
Business success is about much more than improving financial means. For entrepreneurs who follow Christ, a business can be a meaningful way to build relationships and model the ways of Christ. Many who don’t know Jesus Christ will never grace the doors of a church and your business practices may give them a glimpse of hope they never knew existed. Business owners have a unique opportunity to offer prayer for those they serve and to show the love of God to a hurting world.
While the Bible doesn’t promise financial prosperity, in several instances the Bible says that we can make our way prosperous and set ourselves up to flourish. Consider Deuteronomy 8:18 and Joshua 1:8, below (emphasis added):
God gives the power to gain wealth
“… but remember that the LORD your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors as it is today” (Dt 8:18, CSB).
We make our way prosperous
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Jos 1:8, ESV).
Just as these verses encourage, when we offer prayers and ask God to make our business thrive, we invite the movement of the Holy Spirit. He will show us the power God provides, and as we meditate on the Word of God we make our way prosperous. Righting our hearts before Jesus is a powerful and proven way to help our efforts succeed.
When we flourish in business, we can give more generously, help others, and reveal the work of the Lord to those around us. Lifting prayer for business success reaches beyond selfish motives and can genuinely impact customers, vendors, employees, our own children, and generations of people—all through the wise decisions we’re equipped to make.
25 Scriptures to Enhance Your Business-Minded Prayers
The most simple yet profound way to lift prayers for your business is to use Bible passages to provide guidance. Some of my favorites are:
Proverbs 3:3-4 (NIV)
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
An example of praying the Scripture is:
Father God, write your love and faithfulness on the tablet of my heart. Help me find favor and a good name in Your sight and before mankind. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Matthew 5:16 (CSB)
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
Offer prayer like this:
Lord Jesus, may Your light shine through me. In my business, let customers, employees, and even their families see the good works that You instill so that they can see you and give you glory. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Psalm 84:11 (ESV)
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
A prayer can sound like this:
Thank you, Lord, that you help me to walk uprightly in my job. Be my sun and shield. I ask that you bestow Your favor and honor on my business and withhold no good thing. In the name of Jesus, amen.
For more Scriptures to pray over your business, I invite you to download my free prayer guide, a collection of 25 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Business. It provides Bible verses along with encouragement to offer prayers through each one for your own business success.
It’s not difficult to offer prayer for your job or business by using Scripture. In fact, there are three easy steps:
Research the Bible verses
This is already done for you in my eBook—25 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Business (For Your Blog, Book, or Brand)—and you can download it for free.
Offer prayers using the Scriptures
Pray in Jesus’ name each day (or at a minimum every workday).
Thank Jesus for the ways the Lord will reveal Himself and how He answers your prayers.
Prayer Can Enhance Your Business
Imagine how it will feel to pray and focus on God throughout your day, knowing He is with you. In prayer, when you ask for and receive God’s guidance, it makes all things feel easier, less overwhelming, and somehow simplified. When you pray, your work becomes more efficient and meaningful and you see your products and services begin to help others. Those are likely the reasons that you started your business in the first place, and when you start to see your work pay off, it’s easier to believe that you’ll find prosperity. Then, by saying thank you to Jesus, you give Him the glory, honor, and praise for equipping you with all you need.
Every Christian, whether a business owner, ministry leader, or employee should lift fervent prayers for their organization or job. Jesus longs for us to have an abiding relationship with Him, not only when we’re at home in a quiet place, but throughout our day: on the job, at work, while running a business, writing for the Kingdom, or leading others to Him. We are to pray without ceasing and continuously give thanks in the name of Jesus.
If you don’t know how to offer prayer for your business or if you would like a free collection of Scriptures to help you lift prayers for business success, I invite you to download 25 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Business, my free eBook. It will provide you with the encouragement you need to cover your work life in prayer, ask Jesus for His help and provision, and to thank Him for all He gives.
While God doesn’t promise prosperity, He does provide all we need to generate it in our lives. The Lord is faithful to hear our prayer. Interceding in His name, we give Him glory and let Him carry the burden of the weight of all the things our business or ministry needs. He is our provider, our guide, and our encourager. He cares about all of the work that we do and every life that we touch through our efforts.
The heaviness in my heart was palpable, dampening my spirit, and darkening my mood. In a word, I felt defeated, reflecting on the loss of relationships, time, and even hope. Why? I wondered why I continued to pour myself into things that offered little freedom, healing, or benefit. I needed help and I turned to the promise of God’s restoration.
Settling in to listen to the Sunday message at church, weariness blanketed me like a fog. My sacrifices over the past months weighed heavy on my heart and mind. I wondered if they’d bear any tangible fruit.
My heart wailed, “What’s it all for? Why, Lord, am I going through this?” A full-blown self-pity party threatened to overtake me and I wondered if the Lord had any encouragement to offer.
Divine Restoration in the Bible
A visiting missionary delivered the sermon that morning—it was a captivating message of God’s love and provision. He pointed to divine restoration in the Bible and shared personal stories of God’s care and generosity. His message proclaimed the love and care of our Heavenly Father who poured out compassion in the most distressing, hopeless situations.
I felt I was in a distressing, hopeless situation too. Would the Lord show me His mercy?
The missionary shared countless Bible verses but one delivered a spark of hope to my hurting heart:
“And everyone who has left houses, brothers or sisters, father or mother, children or friends because of My name will receive 100 times more and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29 HCSB).
God’s Promise of Restoration
The Lord sees our sacrifice. He is keenly aware of what we give up for Him and will replenish our dry cisterns. God allows hardships but promises restoration.
He promises it.
What does it mean to be restored by God?
My mind traveled to Job of the Bible who lost his servants, children, livestock, livelihood, and his health. In the early chapters of this book, we’re given a glimpse of Job’s estate. It included 7,000 sheep 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very large number of servants (see Job 1:2).
After all the tragedy and loss Job endured, we see God’s restoration and learn that He doubled Job’s prior possessions. “The LORD blessed the last part of Job’s life more than the first. He owned 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42:12-13, HCSB).
The Meaning of Restoration in the Bible
Unquestionably, the new possessions did not erase the horrific pain of prior loss, but God generously restored even more than Job’s sacrifice, and through the journey restored his hope and peace. The Lord counted Job’s cost. He measured it, and He restored it in double portion. To restore, in a Biblical sense, means to complete, to make amends, and to prosper. Just as we see in Job’s example. Or through the promise of Joel 2:25 (shared below). And we also see it in personal examples of our daily lives.
As I listened and reflected on the missionary’s testimony, I realized the question is not if God will reveal blessing, but when. I felt the Holy Spirit providing assurance that the offering I considered sacrificial would bear Kingdom-sized fruit in God’s perfect timing— and lasting fruit at that.
My heart found refreshing rest in the promises of God’s Word. I received and embraced the encouragement I believe He meant for me.
God’s Word says that when we walk in obedience, He will “restore your fortunes, have compassion on you, and gather you again…” (Deuteronomy 30:3, HCSB)).
The promise of Joel 2:25a (ESV) says,
“I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
Personal Examples of God’s Restoration
I began to recall personal examples of times God has proved this to me in the past:
God’s Restoration of Time
It’s not uncommon for me to wake in the morning and think, “I have too much going on today, there’s no time for Bible devotions.” On days when I listen to that logic and forgo my time in the Word, my day is nearly always in disarray with one appointment crashing into the next. I run late, experience conflict, and I’m not on my best game. But when I get on my knees before the Lord—even when I feel I don’t have time— I see a level of efficiency and grace throughout my day that I recognize as God’s blessing. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of time.
God’s Restoration of Finances
There are times when the Lord prompts us to financially give beyond what we feel we can afford. When we allow human logic and a glance at our bank account to lead us to a decision, we struggle to make ends meet. But when we obey the Lord’s direction, our needs are met in every instance. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of financial giving.
God’s Restoration of Sacrifice
When we’re asked to give our time serving others, I’ll admit I’ve grumbled on occasion. After all, my own yard needs a tremendous level of attention, yet God asked that I help someone else with theirs. It’s humbling in such times to see God’s hand of returned blessing when a neighbor plows the snow from our very long driveway. It’s no coincidence. God restores the sacrifice of obedience.
God loves us with an everlasting love. He gives us all that we need at the precise moment that it’s needed. It blesses Him to restore our sacrifice with a lavished bounty. That’s a bit hard to grasp, but we see it played out.
Hope for Today
If you are struggling as we all do sometimes, wondering when the Lord will restore what you have sacrificed, I encourage you to abide in the Lord and trust. God sees everything that you are doing. He knows your heart, your motivation, your level of weariness, and your breaking point. He’s right beside you, providing strength and perseverance to go the distance. Hang in there and wait with expectation. In the fullness of time, He will reveal His plan and show you the fruit of your faithfulness.
Maybe you’ve walked a similar journey and have seen the Lord’s generosity. Your story is sure to encourage others. Please share it with us!
It seems that more people are feeling anxious than ever. The truth is, to stop fretting from the uncertainties of today’s world, we can all calm anxiety with the truth of God.
I certainly need wisdom to learn how to give my anxiety to God. Each post in this series points to what God says about anxiety and uses Scripture to help embrace His truth. The Bible allows us to focus on God as the authentic Source of our peace.
Hope for Today—a Bible Verse for Anxiety
Today’s Bible verse for anxiety is one that, at its surface, almost sounds too good to be true.
John 14:1 (HCSB)
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.
It can seem as if these words of Jesus are oversimplified. How do we gain freedom from a troubled heart by simply believing? God provides a glimpse of His powerful intent for these words. If we desire freedom from a troubled heart, we must believe in God and His Son. That’s what it looks like to calm anxiety with the truth of God.
Before this Bible verse could have it’s powerful, calming impact in my life, I had to analyze what I believed. During past periods of hardship and anxious thinking, I began to believe some incorrect things about the Lord. Those thoughts clouded what the Bible teaches is true. For example, when experiencing past trials:
- I’ve believed God was no longer for me,
- Or that He stopped caring about the people I love.
- In the past, I’ve believed that my sin was too great to be covered by the blood of Jesus,
- And that I was too disgraceful to receive forgiveness.
- I believed that the Lord abandoned me
- Or that I was being punished.
Each statement is completely untrue. If I believe false truths about Jesus, I have no hope to calm or overcoming anxiety.
Calm Anxiety With the Truth of God
To calm my troubled heart, I must believe the truth about God and that truth is found in His Word. When I believe that His love covers a multitude of sins, including my own, then I receive hope for a blessed future walking in the Lord’s favor. By believing that He is a loving Father, I can embrace my identity as His child and know that He is for me. When God allows struggles into my life, they are filtered through His loving kindness. With the belief that God has a good plan for His children, I know He is always working for my good and His glory.
It’s not enough to believe in a God about whom I’ve formed my own perception —especially one based on emotion and disappointments. Complete peace comes when I believe in the God of the Bible—when I believe who God says He is in His Word. The more I read His Word, the more I begin to know and understand His character, His nature, and His ways. A deeper connection and relationship with my Heavenly Father emerge out of the time that I spend with Him. There, I find perfect peace that calms anxiety.
How Do I Overcome Anxiety?
Part of the formula I’ve discovered to calm anxiety is to remain mindful of it. I’ve learned that I cannot allow it to run rampant through my heart and mind or my anxious thoughts will continue to multiply within me. I must tame my thought patterns, and that requires smothering them with the truth of Scripture. When my mind is filled with God’s truth, there’s no room for it to wander off into negative, anxious, and destructive thinking. The Bible is filled with God’s wisdom and instruction that deliver His authentic and unwavering peace. By relying on Him, I can calm anxiety and embrace joy in my jumbled life. May you discover our holy God through His Word today,
The Journey of Calming Anxiety
If you’re wondering how to calm anxiety fast, I invite you to read more through other posts in this powerful series:
Calm Anxiety with God’s Power—2 Timothy 1:7
How to Calm Anxiety and Find Sleep—Psalm 4:8 and Proverbs 3:24
Finding Peace Through Humility—1 Peter 5:6-7
Calming Anxiety Through Gratitude—Philippians 4:6-7
Calming Anxiety Through Surrender—Isaiah 41:10
Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ—Isaiah 26:3
Anxiety, whether common anxiety over life issues or an anxiety disorder, is something that plagues our minds. It takes root in our thought lives and can disrupt so much more: our energy levels, concentration, eating habits, sleep, communication, relationships, you name it! The real struggle is in what we ponder. That’s how we can calm anxiety with a focus on Christ, and why today’s verse is so powerful.
You will keep the mind that is dependent on You
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in You (HCSB)
The more we focus on God, the more we receive His peace. The HCSB says peace comes when our minds are dependent on God. Other Bible translations use the terms “stayed,” “fixed,” or “steadfast.” Each points us in the same direction. When God is the center of our focus, we trust in Him and He brings peace. Perfect peace. That peace is unwavering and able to withstand anything that comes at us.
How to Calm Anxiety with Focus on Christ
How do we focus on God? Is there a way to develop a steadfast thought life that holds Christ in the center? It takes practice, first and foremost. And we start one step at a time. Here are some practices that help me when my thoughts threaten to take a dangerous path of worry and anxiety:
Read more of God’s Word.
My aim is to read Scripture every day. I don’t give myself a set assignment like reading an entire chapter or three. My days are too sporadic for that. Sometimes I have lots of time to read and other days it feels like my feet are running on a treadmill before I ever even get out of bed. As I read daily Scripture, sometimes it’s one verse. Sometimes it’s an entire book of the Bible. It truly doesn’t matter. If I’m reading His Word, it is an aid to keep my mind fixed on God.
Pray and ask for focus.
As I turn my mind to focus on God, I’m trying to accomplish a spiritual discipline. Accomplishing a spiritual discipline is not possible with fleshly strength. It’s important to ask for the Lord’s help in my endeavor and accept His supernatural and divine help. I am not alone in this task; God is by my side, aiding and equipping me along the way.
Place visual and electronic reminders.
It helps a LOT to have a Bible verse taped to the bathroom mirror, or to my dashboard, or as wallpaper on my phone. Another tool is setting an electronic alarm as a reminder to take a break for 5 minutes and read or re-read a verse or passage each day. Lastly, when making the bed, I sometimes place my Bible on my pillow to remind myself to read the Word once again before I drift off to sleep.
Listen to podcasts or watch videos that pertain to the Bible.
I find this a great way to use my drive time or chore time to help my thought habits. ** If you’d like to listen in, I have a FREE daily video devotion series on YouTube.**
Often, I’ll ask a friend, mentor, or even my husband to check in with me from time to time and ask if I’ve been in God’s Word each day. If I know I’ll have to answer to someone, even casually, I’m much more diligent in my efforts. Accountability can go a long way in strengthening my thought life and fixing it on God.
Which of these tips do you find most helpful? Are there practices that you use that I didn’t share? Please tell me about them in the comments. I’d love to hear!
For additional inspiration about calming anxiety, be sure to read the rest of this 7-part series.
May you find great peace today as you fix your mind on Christ,
Mamas tend to worry. It’s what we do. We face more anxiety about our children than we ever dreamed possible, but we can calm anxiety through surrender to God.
I remember seasons when my kids were off to college, wrestling with feeling utterly out of control. And that’s because I was. We can teach, guide, counsel, and influence our kids until we’re blue in the face. But when it comes right down to it, they’ll make their own decisions. As parents, we have no way of controlling that.
I lost a lot of sleep in those college days, wishing I could be with my kiddos to guard and protect them and worrying over them because I couldn’t. There’s not much that’s fun about the early empty nest years, especially the tremendous concern that floods our hearts.
I’ll never forget a phone call during one of those heavy seasons. I talked with my son who said, “Mom, look up Isaiah 41:10. My coach showed it to me while we were on the bus to our last game.”
Once I looked up the verse it became a staple in our home. I cling to it often when I slip into my fearful, worrisome, and anxious tendencies.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand (HCSB).
How to Calm Anxiety Through Surrender
In his own way, my son was reminding me that God was tending to us both. The Lord was watching over me and guarding my troubled heart. He was also holding my son in the palm of His hand, caring for him in ways that I never could. The Lord would also watch over my daughter when it was time for her to move away. This verse reminded me of that and helped me rest in God’s protection.
Even when my kids are beyond my reach, I can trust that the Lord is caring for me, loving them like the gracious, protective, and tender-hearted Father that He is.
The Holy Spirit calls Isaiah 41:10 to my mind often, reminding me to surrender to God’s shielding care. It helps me release the protective hold I imagine that I have over my family and trust that God will handle all the details. I am not to be afraid because He is God, He is with me, He is with my family, and He helps and strengthens us all.
As you work to calm anxiety and worry today, take a moment to intentionally surrender your cares to God. Hold your hands in front of you, palms up, and relaxed, symbolizing that you’re releasing your grip on the things that trouble your heart. Then name them, one by one, and tell the Lord that you surrender each point of concern into His strong and loving care. Ask that He show you, moment by moment, how He holds you and your worries in His righteous right hand.
Be sure to read more of this 7-part blog series about calming anxiety!
May you find comfort in God’s Word,
I remember receiving the phone call like it was yesterday when I would have given nearly anything to find freedom from fear. The police in our son’s out-of-state college town wanted to speak with us about some trouble he’d encountered.
That moment started a cyclone of emotions and a paralyzing struggle with fear that simply blindsided me. Although I struggled to identify exactly what I was afraid of, over the next many months, the Lord walked me through a painful and gut-wrenching spiritual journey of discovery and surrender.
As early as the onset, I trusted the Lord and believed—even through this trial—that He had a good plan for my son and our family. Still, I experienced a gripping level of trepidation that nearly stopped my ministry in its tracks and began to have a crippling impact on my life roles of wife and mom. Every part of my life felt as though it were under attack.
The Beginning of Breakthrough
One day my pastor suggested I borrow a book called Fearless by Max Lucado. He pulled it from his bookshelf and I placed it inside my handbag to take home. It sat on the desk in my home office for weeks. Every day as I walked by it, I’d think, “I should read that.” But I was unable to muster the strength to take even the smallest step toward freedom. It was as if I were too sick to reach out and grab a cure.
At last, I picked up the book and opened it. On the first page was nothing more than a Bible verse. It was Matthew 8:26, when Jesus asked His disciples,
“Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”
That was all I could take.
Tears spontaneously filled my eyes. I slammed the book closed and dropped it on my desk as the words penetrated my heart like a dagger. I couldn’t make myself read another word for quite some time.
But as only He can do, the Lord used His living Word to plant a seed of truth and understanding into my life. Matthew 8:26 swirled in my thoughts. It stayed in my mind when I slept, while I showered, and walked through my daily tasks. Slowly, over time, the Lord used that one verse to help me understand the powerful impact of fear and its relationship with faith. Jesus used His Word to reveal a path of victory over fear that has stayed with me many years later.
The Opposition of Fear and Faith
In Matthew 8:26, Jesus referred to His disciples as “men of little faith” because of the fear they experienced. That unfolds an interesting dynamic. Faith and fear are like opposite platforms on a scale.
As our fear increases, it diminishes the manifestation of our faith. Conversely, if our faith increases, it diminishes our fear.
Fear and faith are in opposition and have a direct impact on one another.
It can sometimes feel difficult to hold fast to our faith, which leaves us vulnerable to the enemy’s fiery darts of fear. Even when we can’t identify that “thing” of which we’re fearful, effects of fear can be paralyzing. Just because we follow Christ doesn’t mean we’re exempt. I can tell you from first-hand experience that fear
- Masks our joy
- Keeps us from pursuing our calling
- Causes dissension in relationships
- Makes us feel separated and discontented
- Can manifest in physical symptoms
- Holds us in captivity
- Makes us forget how big God is
Wielding the Shield of Faith
During that season in my life, there was little question that I was in bondage to fear. Each time those fiery darts made impact, I felt the sizzle and smelled the scorch. But God, as He always does, provided a way of protection. Ephesians 6 addresses the full armor of God and teaches that our shield of faith will “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (v. 16).
The Greek word thureos describes a large, oblong shield that protected every part of a soldier. It was an essential piece of equipment that was covered in leather to help defend against flaming arrows. The thureos was about waist high and at least as wide as an average person. Warriors became so skilled at using their shield that other pieces of armor often escaped any impact at all.
The illustration aptly demonstrates the power of faith. As Paul referenced a shield of faith, he selected the word thureos to make his point. Our shield of faith offers such complete protection, other pieces of armor (the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, and shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace) rarely receive impact.
“Imagine yourself holding up your shield of faith. All is going well until your eyes see something astonishing. Within your field of vision is something you never imagined and you stand, mouth gaping, feeling your left arm, which holds your shield, begin to slump. What you see with your eyes affects your faith and it begins to falter, ever so slightly. As your faith begins to weaken, your shield moves out of position and you are suddenly vulnerable to the enemy. We may have other pieces of protective armor, but when the enemy fires a flaming arrow, we’re sunk. In my estimation, fear is a flaming arrow!
Think of what was happening to the disciples in Matthew 8. The storm was fierce. It was what the disciples could see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and feel upon their skin. What emotion did they experience? Fear. It can paralyze our brains and make us completely forget (even if just temporarily) how BIG God really is.
I’ll just come out and say it: Fear seems to make us lose our minds and forget the wonders He has performed in our lives and all the ways that He has proven Himself trustworthy. The disciples had many reasons to put their faith in Jesus. They saw Him work many mighty miracles, and yet were afraid when the storm on the sea arose.” *
* this is an excerpt from my book, Finding Joy in the Journey (available on Amazon.com)
As believers in Christ, we love the Lord. We have learned to put our trust in Him and He has proved faithful through His work in our lives. We have seen Him perform modern-day wonders and bring us through hardships, trials, and heartaches. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He is incapable of dishonesty, yet at times, fear consumes us.
Why are we afraid when Christ has proven Himself so faithful? Why do we fear when the Lord of lords is on our side? What is it that makes us waver in our faith?
Can you see the progression?
Our situation becomes frightening and our eyes fix on our situation.
We turn our focus to what we see (our situation) as opposed to what we cannot see (God’s activity).
Our faith is compromised, which causes our shield to move out of position.
We become a vulnerable target for our enemy, which causes deeper fear and a shield that shifts even further.
Faith Delivers Freedom from Fear!
There is good news! Just as quickly as our fear can cause us to lose faith, our faith can conquer our fear. Remembering to raise our shield of faith and duck behind it, even as we quake and tremble, our faith can overtake our fear. And here’s the thing – it can happen in a split second!
Because God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7), the enemy of our souls will not win this battle. With this in mind, take courage. Raise your shield and fight the good fight, knowing God is your defender.