A Prayer for When You Are Angry
By: Maggie Meadows Cooper
"I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart..." - Ezekiel 11:19
Anger. It's an easy subject to discuss because we've all been there. I'm generally a pretty laid-back gal, so I don't get "angry" very often. I prefer to say that I'm "irritated" or "agitated”... something more Southern and ladylike. But my friends who know me well will call me on it. Sometimes I'm just flat out mad.
Jonah was a man who knew something about being angry. He ran from God in disobedience, but the Lord saved him out of the belly of a whale and gave him a second chance. He took that chance and went to tell the people of Nineveh that their sin was going to bring the wrath of God. They listened, repented, and God "changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened" (Jonah 3:10).
But instead of being thankful for the lives that were saved, Jonah was angry! He wanted judgment brought on others, in spite of the fact that he was just saved. "The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?” (Jonah 4:4)
Jonah wanted mercy and grace for himself, but was unwilling to give it to others. It has to go both ways. Here are three things to consider the next time we are angry:
1. We need to self-reflect.
2 Corinthians 13:5 says we need to examine ourselves. That's not a fun thing to hear. Or to do. But it is necessary. Paul said, "This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"--and I am the worst of them all." (1 Timothy 1:15)
When we see our own depravity...when we take ownership of our own mistakes...when we can truly realize the depth of our own sin and humble ourselves...we can give mercy and show grace to others...the way Jesus does for us.
2. We need to consider the other person's circumstances.
People say things and do things without thinking sometimes because they are blinded by their current circumstances. Take time to see things from the other person's perspective and put their needs above your own. It's much easier said than done...I know from experience. But it is something to aspire to.
"Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3
3. We need to decide what we are going to do with our anger.
Anger in itself is not a bad thing. There are times to get angry. Jesus did (Matthew 21). God does too. It's what we do with it that is concerning. We basically have two choices. We can let it take control of our hearts and lead us into captivity, or we can find freedom through forgiveness. That's pretty much it. This is a visual I use to think about:
Prayers for the Lord’s Strength/Peace
Realization of Our Own Depravity
Many times, anger starts with a minor irritation that makes us mad. But sometimes it is a serious offense that leads to anger. Either way, the question is, which direction will you let your anger take you?
Satan would like nothing more than for you to be eaten up with resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness, until you find yourself in a place you can't escape from. A wise friend once told me that Satan drives us and the Lord guides us. Choose the one you want leading you, my sweet friends.
Take my stony, stubborn heart and turn it into a tender, responsive heart that seeks you and your will above all else. Forgive me for any bitterness I harbor in my heart and help me to find release and peace in you alone. I thank you for your grace, mercy, and the work you are doing in my life.
In Your Mighty Name,
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mother, educator, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book Bumper, helping others to see that the heart is what counts most. She blogs at www.thelittlemoments.org and contributes to IBelieve Truth:A Devotional for Women, Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, and the Connecting Ministries Blog.
An educator with an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has nineteen years of experience in education. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-cola, and watching anything mystery-related! She lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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