I have had trouble lately in being honest with God in my prayers. Not sure why. I know the things I should be feeling at the moment and should be thinking, so I just kinda pray those things. But in my heart, that’s not what’s going on.
Sometimes I feel like there’s a certain way prayers are supposed to be prayed. Formal, theological, incredibly positive of the outcome. You get the picture. After all, James said if you pray while doubting, you’re like a wave tossed by the wind and you shouldn’t expect to receive anything from the Lord (James 1). So I’m like, “OK God, I’m going to try really hard to pray now without doubting.” It feels silly even typing that. How do you just stop doubting?
I don’t know how to stop doubting in my prayers, so I’ve just been praying as if I’m not really doubting. I’ve been faking it.
Then I read or heard that we should be honest with God in prayer.
I’ve thought about that, and I’m just starting to be impacted by it.
God knows my thoughts already, so He isn’t surprised when I honestly pray things that don’t sound very . . . “Christianesy.” I know that.
I also know David prayed some prayers I would hesitate to pray:
- He was too bold for me. “Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked” (Psalm 3:7). While I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to pray imprecatory prayers for our enemies, the boldness of this prayer throws me for a loop. Or how about when David frequently prays, “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God” (Psalm 4:1)? That seems a little strong for me too.
- He freely admitted weakness. “Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 5:2-3). Translation: “I’m dying here, God!!! What’s the deal??”
My prayers haven’t been like that lately, although I’ve wanted to pray like that. I want to pray, “God, You’re gonna have to show up, because I have no freaking idea what I’m doing here. Do something! Be faithful to Your Word and Your promises!”
My hesitancy to be “arrogant” or “manipulative” with God was just a mask for insecurity and pride. As a result, I haven’t wanted to be vulnerable with God to tell Him what I really feel. But I have not rejected Christ. I trust Him and am secure in Him. Plus, God is big. He can handle anything I could throw at Him and then some.
So here’s a public pledge of repentance from my prideful “prayers.” I am in Christ, and I trust Him and am found in Him before God. I will try my best to be honest with God in my prayers–specifically during this next season of my life. There’s a rawness in those prayers that makes me a little uncomfortable to even be admitting publicly. But if I really need God to show up, I’m going to have to let Him in. I’m learning that only happens through honesty.