There are times when we encounter situations where we are with a person who cannot control their temper. Whether intentional or unintentional, a minor offense causes a big reaction in the person. Whether we know of someone who has anger problems or we are in the middle of a situation where a person is furious, prayer is one of the best things we can do. While there are other things you can do, such as talking to the person and trying to make them calm down, we should still pray for the angry person. We must pray to God because, in the end, it is God’s grace that will enable the person to calm down and let go of the anger that they’re feeling.
What does the Book of Proverbs say about anger?
The book of Proverbs has many things to say regarding anger. Proverbs tells us that a person who is slow to anger has understanding and that a person who has a hasty temper exacts folly. Indeed, if we are rash and become angry, it is foolish, because we don’t take a moment to understand things first. It is like being a soldier who dives straight into the battlefield without first scouting and understanding the battle situation. However, if we are slow to anger, it not only means that we don’t get swayed by our emotions easily, but it also shows that we make an effort to understand things first and are not driven by anger. That is extremely important in every aspect of life. If you are a boss in a workplace and one of your subordinates fails to meet a deadline, it is foolish to be angry towards your subordinate immediately. You should be slow to anger and exercise understanding by figuring out what happened and what caused them to miss the deadline. That way, you can resolve the root cause of the problem peacefully and constructively.
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
Proverbs also tells us that good sense makes a person slow to anger and that it is a person’s glory to overlook an offense. Most of the time, people get angry because they are offended. However, regardless of whether you were unjustly wronged by someone or not, we must be slow to anger. It is dangerous and foolish to get angry quickly when someone offends us. That anger can spin out of control and lead to even more devastating events. That is why, if someone offends us, it is our glory to overlook their offense. Instead of being angry and planning to retaliate, be slow to anger and overlook whatever offense others have done to us. Proverbs says that a fool vexes his or her anger. However, the prudent ignore an insult and are never worked up with it. Wrath or anger are things we should forsake, because they tend to lead to evil, and doing something that we should not do.
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
While the Bible tells us to forsake anger and that we should be slow to anger, the Bible never says that we should never feel anger. It is understandable that when someone offends you, you feel angry. If someone insulted you and humiliated you, you don’t feel happy, but angry. However, what the Bible tells us is what to do with that emotion of anger. Are we going to become consumed with rage in an instant? Or are we going to be slow to anger and overlook the offense they have done towards us? The Bible says that when we are angry, we shouldn’t sin. We should not let the enemy use our angry moments as an opportunity for us to do something evil towards our neighbors. Our anger never produces the righteousness of God. If you are a Christian, you don’t point people to Christ when you are consumed with anger.
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
How does God help control anger?
Before getting to how God helps control anger, there are a few things that we should mention here about how God helps us control our own anger. It is essential to note that anger itself is not a sin, but what we do out of it could lead us to sin. For example, imagine if a group of Christians is living a double life; they are going to church and ministering to the lost, but they live a sinful life outside the church. That is something that Christians will be angry about, because they are not being faithful and obedient to God. They are neglecting the truth that God is holy. However, if a Christian fails to control themself, that is where it can lead to sin. They may say curse words to those Christians out of anger or even do some physical harm to them. The key here is “self-control,” which is where God comes in to help us. Those in Christ have the Holy Spirit in them who renews their minds. The Holy Spirit is also at work in them, sanctifying them and making them more and more like Christ. When the Holy Spirit starts His work in us, it should bear fruit, and that fruit should be evident in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23, the package of the Holy Spirit’s fruit in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is something that God does within us. Whenever we exercise patience, love, and self-control to someone who makes us angry, it is because of God’s grace at work in our lives. Just as the Holy Spirit empowers us to be bold when it comes to the Gospel and live a holy life, the Holy Spirit empowers us to be patient, gentle, kind, and exercise self-control. In the end, we rely on God’s help to control our anger. Another good reminder is that God never gave us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and self-control. On our own, we will end up being angry and sinning. However, we have the Holy Spirit in Christ, which helps us exercise self-control and show love instead of anger.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
How do you pray for an angry person?
Given the things mentioned above, we know what we can pray for a person who is angry if you are in a situation where there is high tension or if you know of a person who has anger problems. If the person is a Christian, you can pray for the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be more evident in his or her life. What you pray is more about praying for the person’s sanctification, that he or she will continue to be sanctified and become more Christlike, in which they exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit. You can also pray for the Holy Spirit to convict the person of sin for all those times they were consumed with anger and ended up sinning. You can also pray for God to remind the person of the grace and mercy that He has shown. God, in His holy anger, could not have sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us, yet He did so, such that in Christ we can receive eternal life. In Christ, God has shown us mercy and grace. If God showed us mercy and grace, we should also show the same towards others. You pray for God’s grace upon the person because it is only by God’s grace that they can exercise self-control and overcome anger.
Here is an example of praying for a Christian who has anger problems:
Holy Spirit, You are the One who works in us and sanctifies us to become more and more like Christ. I pray that Your work in the life of name of the person shall be more evident in them and that they will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. Empower them to exercise self-control and never sin out of anger. Help them to overlook the offenses that others do and ensure that they will always practice good sense and be slow to anger. Remind them of the grace and mercy that You have shown them on the cross and that they should also show grace and mercy to others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
If a person is not a Christian, the most important prayer you can pray for them is to hear the Gospel, repent, and believe in Christ. Only in Christ can they receive the Holy Spirit, who will sanctify them to become more like Christ and empower them to exercise self-control. The Holy Spirit alone bears the fruit of the Spirit in us. That is why we call it the “fruit of the Spirit”. You can still pray for God’s grace upon the person. However, it is better to pray for them to repent and follow Christ. Only then will their hearts be softened and they will desire to live a pleasing and honoring life to God. With that said, you should also preach the Gospel to them.
Here is a prayer you can pray for an unbeliever who often gets angry:
Holy Spirit, You work in the hearts of the people. I pray for name of the person that they will get to hear the Gospel. I pray that You would turn his/her heart of stone to a heart of flesh and that You would cause regeneration in their heart so that they may receive, repent, and believe in the person and work of Christ. Only in Christ can they have You, who sanctifies him/her, making them more like Jesus and bearing the fruit of Your work. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Remember that we can never change people. If we know of someone who has anger problems, it is not us, but only God who can change them. One of the best things to do if we know of someone who is always angry and cannot control their temper is to pray and intercede for God’s grace to work within them.