What does the Bible say about anger? Are there prayers for anger that we can use to combat that specific sin nature?
"Goodnight Mama, have a good sleep, and in the morning don't wake up angry."
My 3-year-old said those words as I shut his bedroom door for the night.
"Dear God, what made him say that? My heart sank. I thought we had a great day. It had been his birthday after all. Technically my 3-year-old would be 4 in a matter of a couple of hours. "What did I do wrong today Jesus?"
It's true, I struggle with anger. I never used to be like that. It was only after I had two children, was working nearly full-time, running a business, and trying to homestead that I found myself dissolving into fits of rage that ended up spilling over to my children.
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Is Anger Wrong?
Didn't Jesus show anger? Does that mean all anger is bad?
That argument can be made, but for these purposes let's define anger as a destructive feeling to the world around you.
The passage of scripture that people head to when defending their anger with Jesus is at the temple in Matthew,
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer,’
but you make it a den of robbers.”Matthew 21:12-13 ESV
There is a very large difference between righteous anger and destructive anger. Anger itself is not necessarily a sin, what we do is that anger is when the outcome may become a sin.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,Ephesians 4:26 ESV
In Jesus' case, there are multiple accounts of him becoming angry.
One of the most succinct articles I have read about the anger of Jesus comes from Re-Think. The author explains 6 reasons why Jesus showed anger in the scriptures.
- The human condition (John 11:35)
- Rules being placed over people (Matthew 12:10)
- Kids being pushed aside (Mark 10:13-16)
- Self-righteous judgementalism (Matthew 23:25–32)
- Making it difficult for people to get to God (John 2:13-17)
- Self-ambition (Matthew 6:5)
In the case of mom rage, we often find ourselves dealing with sudden anger caused by unplanned circumstances. Our kids hit our last straw and the anger that has been simmering for hours suddenly explodes over in yelling.
How does the Bible say to overcome anger?
Although there are no passages in scriptures that offer prayers for anger, the scripture has many verses that pertain to the topic.
There is a difference between anger and anger issues. Anger issues typically exhibit behaviors like aggression, possible harm to others, a blaming mentality, a quick temper, and the ability to stay angry for days.
However, just the feeling is not necessarily a sin. Like we explained above, it's what we do with the anger that causes us to sin, it can be a slippery slope!
Proverbs 29:11 reminds us that a wise person learns to restrain his or her anger.
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,Proverbs 29:11
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
Restraining our anger can be easier said than done, but it is a skill we can learn to hone as we pursue godly living.
Another step in cutting back anger is evaluating it. One translation of James 1:19-20 says to "take note of this." If you are struggling with anger in your motherhood, take note of the circumstances surrounding your rage. Why is it happening? Is there a time of the day your temper explodes? What triggers it? Evaluating the 'why' is a practical step in overcoming.
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.James 1:19-20 ESV
Finally, as we move on in understanding our anger, we come to the part where we need to release our anger to Christ. It's time to put away all emotions and actions that result in anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk as Colossians 3:8 says.
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.Colossians 3:8
When you are Too Angry to Pray
I have been there. Sometimes, I'm too angry to pray. I wish there was a magical formula that will remind us to take a step back and refocus, but I have yet to find something magical. Having some repetative prayers for anger in our back pocket can be helpful when we are just too mad to think clearly.
However, this reminder from Proverbs 14 has helped me gain perspective.
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,Proverbs 14:29 ESV
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
5 Short Prayers for Anger and Patience
Don't bottle up that anger. Anger is an emotion that God gave us for a reason. It helps us gauge injustice and when a situation needs rectifying. When the anger becomes out of control, here are some short prayers for anger and patience that you can use to bring to our Father God.
A Prayer for Anger for Relationship Difficulties
"Dear father, I am so angry right now after ___________ happened. Please take this situation or relationship and heal it. Help me look at it through the lens of the gospel and not my own tainted sin. Show me what to do and help me control my anger. In your Holy name Amen."
A Prayer for Anger and Betrayal
Sometimes our trust is completely betrayed in a relationship and it leaves us feeling angry and betrayed. Those emotions are understandable, especially since there is no perfect relationship on this earth. All those 'social media' dream marriage accounts are still tainted with sin outside of your screen. When our relationships get hard, you can come to God with your heart and ask for healing.
Dear God of Heaven, my trust has been betrayed again and I feel helpless to know what to do. I don't feel like healing this realationship, but I know that is your will. Give me the strength and the words to know what to say and help me to trust again.
A Prayer for Mom Rage
Building our home as mothers is a job that should not be taken lightly. We have been entrusted to build our home and not tear it down (Provers 14:1). And yet, sometimes we still fail. The rage comes out, the yelling is accentuated and we find ourselves failing. It is at times like these that prayers for anger can help direct our thoughts and refocus our mission.
Dear God, I just found myself failing as a mother again. I yelled at my kids when they really did not deserve it. I'm just so busy and my temper is short. I know this is not what you want for me. There is no time to do anything that means anything. Yet I know that my main job is to take care of these children that you have blessed me with. Give me the patience to set aside my priority list and take care of these blessings. Amen.
A Prayer for Hopeless Anger
It can be highly dissapointing when something does not go your way. It could be anything from a parental decision to a dissapointment at work. When your nerves are frayed and you just want to explode with rage, let this gentle prayer remind you that God has taken away this blessing for a reason.
A Prayer for Weariness
We often find ourselves short tempered when our bodies are not functioning at optimal levels. These are times when we should bow our head and allow God's power to overshadow our weakness.
Prayers for Anger
Are you struggling with anger?
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!Psalm 37:8-9 ESV
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
You are not alone in your struggle with rage or anger. Hold fast to the truth of scripture and refrain from anger!