Fear is the belief that, under certain conditions, loss or suffering is occurring or will occur. As a result, fear motivates a us to
flee from or avoid those conditions and seek other conditions.
seek a source or means to overcome the source or means of loss or suffering
seek a source of refuge or protection from loss or suffering
a source that will not be overcome by the source of loss or suffering
a source that can keep us from loss and suffering
seek the means, strength, and will to minimize and endure the anticipated loss or suffering
Fear may include the belief that there is no source or means to meet our need for protection from loss. It may include the belief that the source and means we currently rely on is not reliable and can, or will, not protect us. If that is the case, then a person either overcomes and rejects the fear, or abandons the source and means currently relied on.
The fear that attacks us in prayer is a belief that relying on God in prayer and believing our prayer will produce the needed results is causing us to suffer loss, or will cause us to suffering loss.
The belief that causes fear may be based on past or present sensory evidence or temptation by a spirit of error.
Consider the situation where the Syrian army surrounded Elisha and his servant. (2 Kings 6:15-17)
Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
Elisha and his servant were threatened with loss by the Syrian army. The servant looked at the physical evidence of the army. He saw no source of protection from the threat. He believed the evidence he saw and believed there was no source or means to overcome the threat of loss: he feared.
So Elisha answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Elisha answered his servant and told him not to fear. He told his servant that they had a reliable source to overcome the threat. The source was not visible to sensory evidence, so Elisha asked God to open the eyes of his servant so he could see the source that lay beyond his senses.
Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
We struggle with fear when we try to rely on God to meet our needs for protection against loss and then see or hear testimony from another source that says relying on God is resulting or will result in loss. We may abandon our reliance on God, respond with fear, and do what we can to minimize the loss. We may doubt: waver between trying to rely on God and fear. We may rely on God in faith: enduring with patience/steadfastness.
Fear may include the belief that we have made, or will make, a mistake that has caused or will cause loss for those around us. Most of us certainly have enough past evidence of mistakes we have made to support such a belief. To believe this, however, we have to believe that God is not a reliable guide and is not big enough to help us avoid mistakes or prevent loss if we do. This fear is overcome by continuing to rely on God to guide us and protect from loss.