Sunday, April 6, 2014

Praying Honest

Don't ignore your heart. Admit your anger. See through to your bitterness. Restlessness and anxiety are real. They are powerful tools for the enemy who wants to destroy your heart, mind and soul. We wake each day with so much on our minds. The list is endless. We have good days and those that seem never ending. Our hearts can become stone. Our blood can boil at the drop of a word. Life is hard. Don't you agree? 

We often bottle up everything and when we come to pray we don't share with Jesus what's real. We stay in a comfort zone. "Dear, Jesus, I pray for Sally Mae as she has surgery this morning. I lift up Kathy who is suffering from cancer. I lay Joe at Your feet as he faces a new obstacle. I ask for a special blessing upon Kim and Rick as they are facing divorce." Sound familiar? 

I'm not saying anything at all is wrong with this prayer, but after all, aren't we speaking with Jesus? He already knows our prayer before we speak it. He knows of every situation. Friends, He knows we are filled with anger and resentment. Why not simply be real with the One who gave all for us? 

"Dear Jesus. I'm mad. No, not mad. I'm furious. I don't understand. I don't get why Kim and Rick are getting divorced. I don't know what the deal is, but Joe is having a hard time and nothing is making sense. Why does he keep falling deeper into depression? Can't You help him? Sally Mae is the sweetest woman I've ever met. She has no one at her side and well, it makes me angry that her kids are not there with her. Kathy is battling cancer again for the third time. Jesus, sweet Jesus, help me! Help me, help others. Open my heart. I don't understand, but I sure don't want to be filled with doubt and anger. As I lay these folks at Your feet, give them peace and courage. Empower them, transform them, and enable them." 

We must be intentional in prayer. It's okay to be honest with Jesus. Friends, it's okay to be angry. It's okay to not understand. We face many different obstacles each day. We have troubles at home, at work, at school. You name it, someone is facing it. We can't look too far without seeing someone in need. We become furious at a friend. We're wounded by our church. A tornado takes our home. Shout out that anger. Release that bitterness. Let the rage your feeling out so it doesn't eat you alive. Jesus understands. He understands more than we can imagine. We are desperate to let go, but we are fearful we can't share our deepest worries and hurts with Jesus. What would He think? He already knows. He wants us to feel His strength and comfort. We cannot be transformed until we are ready to surrender everything. 

Our prayer time should be a conversation with Jesus. I can tell you there are times I'm praying as I do the dishes. Others I may be driving. My son has walked in my bedroom as I am laying down in rest, praying out loud for my children. But there are times I'm home alone and I'm face down on the floor, tears streaming and I'm praying as if it's my last prayer. I have screamed out to God. I have prayed in silence. Jesus wants a relationship with us. He wants to have a conversation. He wants us to share and as our tears dry, He wants us to listen. 

I struggle with my prayer life. I can admit that I can be a strong prayer warrior, but then I can find myself deep in study. I can begin reading a book in the Bible and find myself there for days upon days, just soaking it all in as I wonder. But as I study I notice that my prayer time lessens. Soon, it's been a few days since I've shared with Jesus. Sometimes even longer. I can get so mad at Jesus I just don't want to talk to Him. Have you been there? 

But there is a flip side to that. I can find myself so deep in prayer that I allow my study time to dwindle into nothing. What I'm learning is that I must find balance. The first step for me was admitting to Jesus that I was struggling. The second was learning to be intentional. 

I suppose I've been learning quite a few lessons in my walk. One thing that leaves me breathless is the fact that my Savior intercedes for me. He goes to the Father on my behalf. When I don't know what to pray and when I no longer have any idea what to say, He goes to the Father for me. That is mighty love. 

See, we often worry about the prayer life of others and just where they are on their walk, but see, that's what's so sweet about our relationship with Jesus. There's no other like it. It's our personal journey with Him. We can't compare ourselves to others. We are all in different places. And amazingly our Jesus understands that and He meets each us where we are. Unconditional love. 

We must leave the candle burning. We can't just light it and walk away. Friends, we must intercede for others. Ever have someone just come to mind out of no where? Just maybe the Spirit is leading us to pray for that person. It's a wonderful gift to have open communication with Jesus. No matter what time of day or night, no matter where we are, or who we are with, we can come to prayer. 

Something I've begun in my prayer life is opening up my heart and just praying as the words spill out of my mouth. Whether I'm angry or bitter. Whether it's something I don't understand. I simply share with Jesus. I pray for healing, comfort and strength for those that come to mind. But then I pray for God's will. "If Sally Mae must face this surgery, Lord, use every moment for Your glory. As You are with her, bring her to find a sweeter friendship with You. Lord, use us for Your purpose and plan, and give us everything we need to fulfill Your glorious works."

Friends, don't ignore your heart. Be real with Jesus. He will meet you right where you are and He will bring peace to your heart and comfort where anxiety once lived. Our walk isn't day by day. It's moment by moment and the more time we spend with Him, the more blessings we are going to uncover. 

"Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always." 
1 Chronicles 14:11

"In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings." 
Romans 8:26

"Pray constantly." 1 Thessalonians 5:17

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." 
Philippians 4:6-7

"Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints." 
Ephesians 6:18


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