Learning to Pray My Fears (and Phobias)

Living with fear is something that everyone who lives in the world must do; but praying our fears is the privelege of God’s people. All through the Bible, you will find the prayers of people dealing with fear: Moses, Elijah, David, even Jesus.

Especially Jesus. 

His prayer in Gethsemane before the crucifixion is the prime example of how faith prays while in deep fear.

I soon found it was the only way I could pray about my fears, too.


In two of my most recent posts I was trying to start dealing with, and praying, my fear of back surgery. I have always had a phobia about being cut, sliced or stabbed. I still turn white as a sheet whenever I’m in the same room as a blood test needle. And I’ve always thought of back surgery as the kind of thing that never leaves you normal again.

When Your Surgeon Looks Disappointed was my response to the news that the emergency surgery I had on October 2nd wasn’t enough to fix my back and leg pain. At that time, I only wanted to hope I was “dreaming in slo-mo, or that a genius doctor will find the reboot switch, or that God will grant me a long and active life.”

What Faith Looks Like When You’re Afraid was my response to the news that my L4 and L5 vertebrae needed to be fused together, complete with bone graft and titanium screws. By this time, I was really trying to get past the “I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I don’t want this” stage.


The more I prayed, and the more I bathed myself in Scripture (I have a lot of time on my hands now), the more I found I could only pray one way about my fears: like Jesus did.

The words just can’t help being said:

 Father, heal me. Father, deliver me. But if not, Your will be done.

I couldn’t help praying them because although I know God’s power, I have to constantly learn to trust His kindness toward me.

The central issue when praying our fear is trust—pure, simple, relational trust. God comes to us as Father, and is constantly working in us both to challenge and deepen the quality of our trust in Him, and to re-demonstrate His trustworthiness to us.

The Bible is pretty clear that everyone, Christ’s followers included, will suffer in this life. Pain, misery, anxiety, fear and death are universal. But Scripture is equally clear that God has promised an eternal reward to those who trust Him, a reward that is beyond comparing with our present suffering.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.—Romans 8:18, ESV



I’m happy to share that a more conservative surgery (discectomy on L3) is planned for tomorrow instead of the previously planned L4-L5 fusion. After getting a second opinion, it seems probable that the discectomy will relieve my pain. The fusion may not be necessary… yet.

This takes a big relief off my shoulders. For now.

I don’t know where this road will end. I hope I’ll be completely repaired and able to re-engage my active life. But, Your will be done.

I hope this will be the last surgery on my back and that I’ll never need the fusion. But, Your will be done.

I hope I can return to a job I love and complete a kitchen for the love of my life. But, Your will be done.

You know what this means don’t you?—It means this fearful journey through (what is, to me) a valley of the shadow of death, is a test of my trust that belonging to God, my God, is worth all pains and fears.

Is He worth it? Your will be done.

Will He take care of me? Your will be done.

Can I trust Him with my life and death? Your will be done.

Will He comfort me in my pain and my fear? Your will be done.

Will I experience His peace when I’m afraid? Your will be done.


To those of you who face roads that infinitely darker and longer than mine (just an hour ago I heard that a friend of mine is having emergency brain surgery today!!), I commend you to Jesus, to His work for you on the cross, to His prayers for you. And I hope you are learning, like average me, to prayer like Him too.

Grace to you,



14 thoughts on “Learning to Pray My Fears (and Phobias)

  1. I’ve been going through my own fearful walk and just today I finally came to the point of saying, by His grace, Thy Will Be Done! I felt like a bolder was lifted off of me. I’ll be 63 next month and I’m still learning to trust. Thank you for your honest posts. I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I suspect the Holy Spirit had something to do with it. God Bless You.

  2. Lon
    I’m praying for you and especially that you won’t need the surgery. Fear has been my constant companion since I can remember so we walk the same path even though for different reasons. Your messages are an encouragement to me as I hope this is for you. In spite of my fears I know who holds my future and I trust in Him to get me through it all. Good luck and God bless you, Dawn and your family.

  3. I have been, am and will keep praying for you daily. I think it sounds encouraging that the surgery will be somewhat less than originally planned. Peace to you and your family.

  4. I am praying for you as I read your post. I too remember before having surgery having to face the possibility of never having a normal life or walking again due to the herniated disk. I had to leave all of that in Jesus hands. I have found Him to be faithful to me in every way. Read in the Psalms and take hold of the promises of His Deliverance for those who trust in Him! Let Him speak to you while in His Word and stand on whatever He gives you! God Bless you

  5. Lon, I’ll be praying for you.

    May your NPO tonight and tomorrow be the most unpleasant part of the surgery ordeal. May you have the best sleep of your life when they give you your general anesthesia. May you wake up in shockingly less pain than you have been in for months. May you follow the doctors, nurses, and physical therapist’s instructions and gain your mobility back easily.

    I’m glad you are praying through your fears, diving into the Word, and drawing closer to the Lord as you face this.

    But those scalpels in your header… is that the best picture to see all the time if that’s what you are afraid of?

      • Hey! I just saw a commercial for “laser spine institute.” Of course, it was a commercial, so they basically promise the world to you. But there’s no shame in getting a second opinion. Not all doctors are… shall I say, competent. I was treated by one who almost killed me out of incompetence one time. But the commercial for the laser spine institute said something about a less than an inch incision and very short healing time. Might be worth a google…

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