Sunday

How to Quench the Flames of Fear


Before my friend said a word, I knew something was wrong. 

She didn’t meet my eyes when I greeted her, and her normally bright smile sagged like a limp balloon. Taking her by the hand, I led her into one of the side rooms of the building, away from curious eyes and listening ears. 

“What’s going on?” I asked gently. Tears filled her eyes. 

“I haven’t felt well for months,” she began. “I thought it was just reflux or indigestion . . . then I started losing weight. They did an MRI last Friday. I’m waiting on the results.” 

Her eyes met mine, and before she said the words, I knew what was in her heart. 

“I’m scared.” 


I knew that look, because I’ve seen it in the mirror – fear, terrible fear that squeezes your heart and takes your breath away. Capable of driving every rational thought out of your head and replacing them with spinning nightmares, it makes you want to run away. But there’s no place to run, because IT is everywhere. 

The last time I felt fear like that, I took to the streets. Shoving my feet into my running shoes and lacing them tightly, I knew I had to go somewhere – anywhere. 

“Lord,” I prayed. “I’m afraid. I don’t know what to do, and this looks bad. Please help me.” 

Call Cathy, God’s still, small voice said. 

Cathy? Yes! Cathy. Cathy would understand. Cathy’s been where I’ve been. She’s gone toe-to-toe with this giant and lived to tell the story. 

Shoving my headphones into my ears and dialing the phone, I prayed she’d answer. When she did, I blurted out my story, panic squeezing my throat, making it hard to push the words out. Hard even to breathe. 

Cathy listened quietly, then said the words I needed most. “Let me pray for you.” 

Her prayer changed nothing about my circumstances – at least not immediately – but it brought about a marvelous transformation in my heart. As Cathy prayed, she reminded me of what fear had made me forget: 

That God saw my circumstances. 

That he was able to work in ways I could only imagine. 

That his resources were unlimited. 

And that he hears and answers prayer. 

The panic that had taken my breath away subsided, and by the end of her prayer, my heartbeat had returned to normal. Even better, I felt hopeful. 

Thinking back on the precious gift Cathy gave me that day, I knew what to do to help my frightened friend. 

“Jackie,” l said, “let’s pray.” 


Like Cathy’s prayer for me, my words didn’t change anything about Jackie’s immediate circumstances, but they reminded her God not only knew about her need, but he cared. And he had the power to work in her life. 

So the next time you face a frightening situation, or you encounter someone who is, pray. More than anything else, prayer will take a fire hose to the flame of fear and set you on the path to comfort and peace. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7) 

Now it’s your turn. How have you experienced the peace that comes through prayer? Leave a comment below and share your story.



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