In the parable, the widow didn’t sit at home wringing her hands about her problem. Instead of worrying, she got up and approached the only person who could help her–the judge. In verse one Jesus said we ought always to pray and not to give up. The NASB says, “Pray and do not lose heart.” The Greek word translated “give up” is enkenkao. It literally means to “be filled with bad thoughts.” Worry is filling your mind with bad thoughts of the worst that could happen. Worry is like water. It begins as a trickle of doubt that creeps into your mind. If it isn’t stopped, it soon becomes a stream of fear which creates a pond of paranoia which overflows into a river of distress which develops into a raging torrent of tension. And before you know it, the flood of worry has carved a Grand Canyon of anxiety in your mind!
William Ward wrote this about worry: “Worry is faith in the negative, trust in the unpleasant, assurance of disaster, and belief in defeat…Worry is a magnet that attracts negative circumstances…Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” Worry is like rocking in a rocking chair–it gives you something to do, but you never go anywhere with it.
The Apostle Paul was stuck in a Roman dungeon facing the possibility of having his head chopped off. Instead of worrying about dying, he prayed and in addition to praying, he wrote some letters to encourage Christians to pray instead of worrying. Look at his word found in Philippians 4:6-7. Remember, these words were penned by a man sitting in a damp, dark, depressing dungeon: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worry into prayers. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.” (The Message)
When you face a challenging circumstance you have two choices. You can lose heart and let worrisome thoughts control your mind; or you can pray about it. You should pray and not worry because the God of the Bible loves you and cares for you.