Praying For Protection

Praying For ProtectionEvery time I leave for a work trip, I am reminded of a powerful passage in Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love {which is a phenomenal read} about what and why we pray for certain things – like safety.

I was convicted when I read it years ago and am convicted by the echo of his words today.

Haven’t we all prayed the following prayer? “Lord, we pray for safety as we travel. We ask that no one gets hurt on this trip. Please keep everyone safe until we return, and bring us back safely. In Jesus name we pray, amen.” The exact wording may vary a bit, but that is the standard prayer we recite before leaving on mission trips, retreats, vacations, and business trips.

We are consumed by safety. Obsessed with it, actually. Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to pray for God’s protection, but I am questioning how we’ve made safety our highest priority. We’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.

Francis Chan | Crazy Love | 133

This makes my mind reel with questions. What’s my motivation for praying for protection? Isn’t God bigger than my safety? Is safety what we are on Earth for? Don’t I trust God with His plans for my life, even if it includes harm? {or an untimely death, which is the underlying factor in my safety anxiety.} I wrestle with those questions every time I perceive my circumstances to be dangerous.

One hint of turbulence and I’m praying for God’s hands to surround that hunk of metal zooming through the clouds at 30,000 feet. When I take a wrong turn and wind up where lone females {especially ones that look confused and lost} shouldn’t be, I pray for a shield around my car.

Praying for protection isn’t inherently wrong. God asks that we bring everything to Him as a  prayerful sacrifice, but we are also asked to trust and not try to manipulate God through our prayers. (<— tweet this)

Right after I breathe frightened entreaties, I am hit with Francis’ words that never seem to leave the back of my mind.

People who are obsessed with Jesus aren’t consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God’s kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain or distress.

Francis Chan | Crazy Love | 133

God’s plan is sovereign. Prayer is a way we partner with God, which leads to opened eyes and hearts to the wonderful ways He works in our lives and in the world around us. We pray so we can acknowledge God’s work not so we can take control of our circumstances. (<— tweet this)

God loves when we bring our troubles, joys, successes, and failures to His feet, but He wants us to offer them as pieces of our hearts and accept whatever may come.

When I am scared for my life, whether the threat is real or imagined, I’m often praying to rid myself of the undesirable circumstances, not for peace and courage to meet the circumstances with God as my strength. My fear is born from a lack of trust and confidence in God’s provision and perfect plan.

Francis Chan

I was in Orlando last week and had convinced myself one night that I was sure to be murdered in my hotel room {in my defense, someone had mistakenly tried to open my door rather forcefully around 11 pm which is what started this train of thought}.

Following the unsettling event, my sweet husband suggested {via Facetime} that I read Psalm 27. The Psalms are my safe zone, my spiritual third place, and I was reminded again why I find such comfort in the Psalms as I read over David’s words. David is an emotive and volatile personality who cries out to God in every sort of emotional state. I can relate…

Unlike me, David generally has a god grasp of God’s place in his life’s purpose and plan. David knows that God is eternal and He views His children with an eternal perspective. God answers prayers and gives protection with the eternal in mind, while I am often stuck in the present. (<— tweet this)

I’m familiar with Psalm 27, especially the beginning and the end. {The Lord is my light and my salvation: Whom shall I fear?…Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall stregthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!} What I found in the middle, however, showed David’s grasp of God’s sovereignty in the midst of his fear.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 27:5

David trusts that God will protect him in times of trouble, but He doesn’t limit that protection to his earthly home. I love that David doesn’t specify where the protection takes place. Whether he is hidden in God’s physical tabernacle on earth or in His heavenly dwelling, David knows that he will be taken care of.

Safety comes in all shapes and sizes – in God’s world, it doesn’t always look like the safety we expect the police to provide. The next time I’m boarding an airplane or sending my husband off on a ministry trip, I want my prayers to be more “Your will be done” and less “safety first”.

4 thoughts on “Praying For Protection

  1. Emily,

    I relate to this in so many ways. I am terrified of flying and every time I get on a plane all I can think about is “oh, boy please don’t crash” The whole plane ride I think about my husband, my family and friends. I make myself sick with fear. This is such a good post and gives me a lot to think about. Thanks!

    1. Have you read Crazy Love? His take on many things are so encouraging even though they are deeply convicting. I struggle with anxiety in many areas of my life and this is certainly one of them, but I travel a ton so I have had to talk myself out of some serious panic attacks…

  2. This is a noble concept. Surrending my fears and anxieties to the Lord is how I stay close to him. This world is not ours, we do not belong and it is thus filled with “scary things”. I find comfort in praying for protection and safety knowing full well that God is in control for however the situation may turn out. If the Lord allows something to happen then I know He will be with me and give me the grace and strength to get through. I believe most of us pray for protection and safety out of a desire to draw close to the Lord and have Him calm our fears and to give us peace not because we are obsessed with our comfort. I find no comfort in being fearful and full of anxiety so I will keep on praying!

    1. Great thoughts Brenda! I tend to be someone who feels unsafe when I feel out of control – which, when surrendering your life to Christ, is all the time. When I’m praying for protection, I’m often praying from a need to be in control of a situation, not to give it to God – hence my conclusions in this post. I realize not everyone prays for protection/safety for the same reasons I do. For me, it comes down to praying to have God change the circumstances or praying for God to give us peace in any outcome (like you mentioned).

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