Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Honesty in Prayer

by Philip Asselin

2 November 2016

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But you, Sovereign Lord, help me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow, I am shaken off like a locust. My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt. I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads. Help me, Lord my God; save me according to your unfailing love.
Psalm 109:21-26, NIV

Psalm 109 contains much anger and frustration. It’s an honest psalm. The language of prayer is a vast one. There are the soaring expressions of joy, and the low moans of sorrow; the soft sounds of faith, and the hard-edged expressions of doubt and confusion. At times the sentences are short and to the point, while at others they’re long, and even confusing (because we’re confused). Sometimes they include strong exclamation marks, while at other times they’re peppered with question marks.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that. Prayer needs to be an honest dialogue with God. He expects nothing less. C.S. Lewis said that “we ought to bring to God what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” Those pesky ‘ought’s’ will actually keep us from telling God the truth, and also keep us from feeling the truth of the pain we’re experiencing. Those ‘ought’s’ can actually stop us talking to God, fearing that He would be angered by our sorrow, confusion, pain, frustration and anger. That soft voice of the enemy is quick to say, “you can’t bring that to God! Stay quiet and withdraw for a while. He’ll understand”.

Jesus demonstrated the reverse. When He received the news of John the Baptist’s death, He mourned. When His own death drew near He found a quiet place and prayed (Matthew 26:36-46). In the Garden of Gethsemane, with His death hours away, He drew His closest friends to Him for comfort. Rather than bottle up His pain, He spoke the truth of it to His Father, even though many of those words caused pain as He uttered them. He agonized with ‘loud crying and tears’ (Hebrews 5:7). This was not like a pretty, sanitised oil painting. It was the real thing - a true portrait of how we pray when the earth beneath our feet is shaking, and nothing feels safe anymore.

At such times, we pray however we’re able to. We use whatever words bubble up from us. We pray with our sweat, tears and moans. We also pray with whichever friends will sit quietly with us. We ignore the voice of the enemy, and bring it all before the One who truly knows what we’re going through, understands all that we bring, and gently encircles us with arms of love.

If you’re going through suffering, loss, confusion, rejection, or pain, at this moment, bring all those feelings to Jesus. Don’t block them, squash them, or try and ignore them. They’re real. God isn’t afraid of them. Don’t separate Him from what you’re going through right now.

Prayer: Oh Lord, You know what I’m suffering right now. I know You suffered so much for me, and You show me that it’s safe to let all my pain out to You. You aren’t afraid of it. You want me to be real with You, and not withdraw. Help me to bring to You what I’m really feeling right now, knowing Your arms are stretched out wide to hold me tight. Amen.

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams with Glyndley Manor. He and his wife Gillian attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown up children, one grandson, and a step-granddaughter in California, and a daughter and granddaughter in Eastbourne. His desire is to see people healed and set free to serve God.


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