Once again Scotty Smith has written a prayer that deals with a problem so many wish they could get a handle on: anger. His prayer is about “owning, understanding and stewarding our anger.” Here’s how it goes:
Dear Lord Jesus, anger, sinning, devilish activity and footholds, I’m way too familiar with all four. I can think of certain door-to-door salespeople I wish I’d never given a “foothold” across the threshold of my front door. One minute into feigned niceness and well crafted “pitch,” and I’m ready to usher them on their way. Oh, that I’d be that wise when the devil approaches my heart and home.
Of course, if the dark one knocked on my front door in a red jumpsuit with a three-pronged pitchfork in hand, I’d have no problem turning him away. Unfortunately, he usually creeps in from the basement of tiredness and self-righteousness, or the back door of pent-up irritation and resentment. I can’t and won’t blame my anger on him. He’s the parasitic pariah who exploits anger for his evil machinations.
Jesus, help me understand and steward the emotion of anger. It’s always been a confusing feeling to me—one causing fear, shame and ambivalence. In this Scripture, you’re not telling us never to be angry, but to be careful not to sin when we do feel angry. Grant me big grace for this one, Lord.
I’ve been on the receiving end of destructive anger and demonic rage, and I don’t wish such a crushing of the spirit or implosion of the heart on anyone. Though I’m not typically loud and large with my anger, I certainly own and grieve the ways my anger has brought just as much hurt to people I love. A slow radioactive leak of fury can be just as damaging, in time, as a fury bomb.
Jesus, help me be angry at the right time, for the right reasons, in the right way. Give me a holy passion for justice. Help me become a courageous warrior of the heart and advocate for the marginalized and oppressed. Help me turn over tables to your glory, and not merely throw tantrums for my pouting.
Melt the icebergs of tension and stress in my heart and body. Change my rigidity into playfulness. Redirect the energy I waste trying to feed and keep my control idol propped up. Slay the beast in me that assumes the right not to be interrupted or inconvenienced. May I be much more committed to pre-sunset resolves and reconciliations, than giving my anger a warm bottle tucking it in for a good night’s sleep.
Right now, Lord Jesus, I throw open every door and window of my heart. Come in and establish multiple footholds of mercy, grace, and compassion. I abandon myself to your beauty and bounty today. So very Amen I pray in your peerless and priceless name.