Prayer and anxiety

Sometimes I pray as though the outcome were up to me.  If I don’t pray enough, or with the right fervency, then my prayers might not be effective, so goes my reasoning.  After all, how does one know when one has prayed enough?  I’ve heard of people praying until they feel a peace.  There have been occasional  times when I have ‘felt’ fervent while praying, with even a few tears to boot regarding an issue close to my heart.  On those rare occasions,  I only stopped praying because I ran out of things to say to God.  Is that the kind of peace that is meant?

I was listening to D.A. Carson talk about prayer, using Paul’s exhortations in Philippians not to be anxious, to pray with thanksgiving and then to think about whatever is true and lovely.

I realized from one of his illustrations, that I can often be frenetic in my prayers.  But what is far better is to pray in faith and not in anxiety.   By this I mean that I should ask specifically for what is needed and desired and then focus the rest of my thoughts on God’s character, his past provisions and his promises.  Directing my mind in that direction will give me rest and grow my trust in God’s sovereignty.  Praying fervently with anxiety is just worry with a fake spiritual veneer.