The Unspoken Prayer Request
By Hannah Harrison
A year ago, I began to understand the true meaning of anxiety and panic attacks. As a senior in college, I wanted nothing more to finish my degree with honors, land a job I loved, and marry the man of my dreams.
However, rest and peace seemed far from reach.
I found myself in the middle of the battle with my mind. I suffered from body aches, exhaustion, and the present fear that something could go wrong at any moment. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, let alone accomplish all of the tasks on my ever-growing to-do list.
One day, after suffering bouts of massive panic attacks, I found myself in church when someone asked for prayer requests. Not wanting anyone to know the chaos that surrounded me, I slipped up my hand and said, “I have an unspoken prayer request.”
The unspoken part of the prayer request was for my health and sanity as I tried to press on and finish school. As those shivering words fell from my mouth, a sigh of relief came from my clenched jaw.
But then, people happened.
As I walked down the halls, I overheard a person say, “I don’t understand why people ask for unspoken prayer requests. It’s like their ashamed to come to God with their real problems.”
Instantly, a feeling of guilt and self-ridicule washed over me. “Gosh,” I thought. “What if they’re right? Is God ashamed of me because I didn’t say that I needed prayer for my anxiety and panic attacks?”
Growing up as a child that frequented the hospital, I thought my class wouldn’t mind praying for me. But instead, I discovered that some of them were silently judging me for not having the “faith” to ask for prayer out loud. I was utterly heartbroken.
I found it hard to focus to the rest of the church service. Satan attacked me with every anxious lie he could muster up. But as I skimmed through my Bible, Philippians 4:6 stuck out to me.
“Be careful of nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Notice that verse does not say “Let your requests be made known to others.” It says, “Let your requests be made known unto God.” Don’t get me wrong, I believe in sharing prayer requests. However, when it concerns anxiety, it’s understandable to keep it private. Some might not understand your struggle, heartache, or how you process things, and you don’t have to explain it to them.
Instead of worrying what others think, run to the One who can supply all your needs.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).