Pray and Do

Updated: Sep 14

I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, or pharmacist. I am/was a pastor for nearly 25 years (see also: Why I Am So Tired). I've heard these statements often from adults, teenagers, and even elementary students in pastoral counseling sessions:

"I've prayed! Why do I still have anxiety!"
"I am tired of praying."
"Is God listening?"
"Why won't He take this away?"

There is a fallacy that can exist in the world of church and Christianity, and this is it: If I act my best and pray really hard, God will remove this anxiety from me. And yes, God answers prayers. Yet, I am here to offer an additional part of the solution. Jesus walked around with his personal physician, Luke, which he never needed, but possibly Matthew or Mark did? So yes to praying and yes to following the professional advice of your doctor.

For some people, anxiety is intertwined in DNA. I had an Uncle who had two heart attacks. I never knew this until I had one. My DNA, and had I known this, I likely would have altered some things, predisposing me to heart disease. I've never been overweight or had high blood pressure. Never smoked a day in my life. All indicators for my heart issues were unseen. I was running the day I had a heart attack. I have always been active. But, if I knew this DNA info, I would've gotten some checkups and maybe seen a cardiologist along the way. Or at least checked the heart disease box on the medical questionnaire. 

This is why doctors make a Family History in an evaluation. It is a predictor of your health. I needed a stent, I actually have two, and now I'm good to go. Imagine if I said, 'Nah, I'm good. Leave that artery 80% clogged. I'm sure it will clear up as I sit here eating more lard'. Disclaimer: I'm not a lard eater.

In the same way, we see heart disease, we need to see anxiety. I needed two stents and a temporary statin. But, every day, I take a Bayer aspirin. If your doctor recommends, a temporary pharmaceutical may be necessary so that your dealing with anxiety can be minimized as you learn the skills required to live healthier. Every doctor and psychiatrist's goal, I know, always uses the medicine as a last resort and sees it as a short-term prescription. Don't quantify the word short. Think of it in the scope of a lifetime. 

Pray without ceasing, but it's okay to also trust that part of the answer to those prayers is to follow a doctor and psychiatrist's professional advice. 


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