Praying Through Our Anger

Praying Through Our Anger

Sermon Notes

“Rejoice always; pray continually” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, NIV

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:18-21, NIV

According to three major surveys, what is the average percentage of Americans who say they were angrier this year than ever in the past…
A. 21% B. 37%. C. 48% D. 54%

According to six major surveys, what percentage of Americans say they get angry at least once a day…
A. 24% B. 41% C. 56% D. 71%

According to six major surveys, what percentage of Americans say they get really angry every day? (defined as “seething or boiling”)
A. 8% B. 16% C. 24% D. 31%

1 Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge uprightly among men? 2 No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth. 3 Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward & speak lies. 4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, 5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be. 6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; tear out, O LORD, the fangs of the lions! 7 Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows be blunted. 8 Like a slug melting away as it moves along, like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun. 9 Before your pots can feel [the heat of] the thorns– whether they be green or dry–the wicked will be swept away. 10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked. 11 Then men will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.” -Romans 58:1-11, NIV

1. Express Our Anger to Those Responsible

Just 20% of Americans trust the federal government to do the right thing just about always or most of the time. (Pew Research, 9-14-20)

It is appropriate to confront the bad in others, but our primary responsibility always involves making sure we Do What’s Right.

2. Share Our Anger with God In Prayer

“The most respectful thing you can do is Be Completely Honest.” -Pastor Rusty Wirt

“As far as we know, David didn’t do any of the things he asked God to Do in His Prayer.” -Gordon Curley

3. Trust God to Settle the Score

“Opposition to God’s will destroys itself by Its Own Activity.” -Alexander Maclaren

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:19-20, NLT)

Going Deeper

  • In Psalm 58, David expresses his anger toward unethical leaders who weren’t doing what was right. How should we respond when we see people who have been given the responsibility of upholding justice not fulfilling their responsibility?
  • It is appropriate sometimes to challenge those who aren’t doing what they should do. However, all of us are to remember that we are all sinful and naturally selfish. Why is it important to remember that all of us have a natural tendency to be sinful?
  • Even if we understand where someone’s sinfulness comes from, it doesn’t make sin acceptable. In Psalm 58:7-8, the focus shifts from expressing our anger to those who are doing wrong to taking our anger to God in prayer. Why does it feel strange to share our anger with God?
  • Pastor Tim suggests that while the things the Psalmist asks for appear brutal, it’s essential to realize the Psalmist is taking what he feels to God. He was not doing the things he asked God to do to the person that angered him. Why is that an important distinction if we are going to understand Psalm 58 properly?
  • Pastor Rusty recently said, “The most respectful thing you can do is be completely honest.” How does that relate to praying when we are angry?
  • In the final section of Psalm 58, Pastor Tim focuses on turning our anger over to God and letting Him handle those who frustrate us. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19, NIV) How do David and Paul’s words both encourage us to do the same thing?

Application

  1. Make a list of all the situations that are currently making you angry.
  2. Make a list of the people creating the frustrating situations you listed above.
  3. How should you be praying for the people you just listed?
  4. In each of the circumstances that frustrate you and each of the people that make you angry, answer the following question: How can I best turn these situations and people over to God and let Him deal with them for me?
  5. Make it a point to pray right now about the situations and people you have identified as causing you stress.

Resources

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve, Lewis B. Smedes 

When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense, by Robert Jeffress