Worry Eaters help children to express their anxieties and set them down (or zip them away) for a while rather than carrying them around all day. They also make for a great way to pray.
Pray and Let God Worry
The great reformer, Martin Luther, is credited with saying, "Pray and let God worry." That is much easier said than done—but fear not. Worry Eaters are here to help. Meghan Moravcik Walbert writes about these anxiety-eating dolls at the website Offspring:
“Worry Eaters” are a modern, monster-y twist on Guatemalan worry dolls, to which children confide their worries before placing them under their pillows at night. Guatemalan worry dolls, it is said, gift sleeping children with the wisdom they need to overcome worries. With these newer zippered-mouth versions, children (or their parents) write down or draw their worries, then stuff the paper in the Worry Eater’s mouth so it can hold onto the worries for the child.
Worry Eaters help children to express their anxieties and set them down (or zip them away) for a time rather than carrying them around all day. They also make for a great way to pray. Children and/or parents can write down prayers for things they are worried or concerned about and let the Worry Eater—and God—hold it for a while.
The practice of writing down prayers or concerns and placing them in a container is an effective way to offload worries and let them go, at least for a while. Worry Easters are a more colorful, cuddly, and kid-friendly version of a traditional Prayer Box.
One pastor shared with us that she uses a Prayer Box in this way: she writes down her prayer concern about a particular situation and places it in the box. Then on New Year's Eve, she opens the box and reviews her prayers. The situations that have been resolved come out of the box. Those still in need of prayer and resolution stay in. It is a way to hand those things over to God, to reflect back on answered prayer, and to cultivate patience and trust as the Spirit continues to work things out.
In this reflection on using Prayer Boxes as a family, Rachel Del Dosso writes,
"drawing our attention to the gifts God has given us brings about a sense of well-being and gratitude. Additionally, we use this as an opportunity to lift up the things that we tend to worry about. We remember God’s trustworthiness and faithfulness which helps us to feel more peace."
And author Lisa Wingate shares some more benefits of using a prayer box:
We live in worrisome and anxious times. Fortunately, can draw on the practices of our faith to help us be present to the needs of our world without being consumed by them. By placing our prayers in a Prayer Box, Worry Eater, or some other kind of vessel, we are reminded that God is bigger than all our worries and it is God who will bring new life, healing, and peace to our broken world. As Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew,
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?"