Monday, 30 September 2013

Honest prayers

So yesterday I was listening to a new WorshipMob song... In one of the 'free worship' moments, someone started praying... He said this "I dont understand why you do what you do. I dont understand how you know what I need better than I know what I need. You love us so well. Thank You for the things I think hurt now in this moment, but You still say ' trust me, this is what you need.' I would never have chosen this for me, but in Your Grace, You gave it to me."

A few things struck me from this one prayer.
First, the attitude and heart behind it. As he was praying, he was thanking God, even for the painful things, and realizing that those are the things he needs in order to grow. It wasn't a complaint, it was a lament. Ann Voskamp sums it up perfectly in her book One Thousand Gifts. She writes "Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God Who has His ear to our hearts, a God Who transfigures the ugly into beauty. Complaint is the bitter howl of unbelief in any benevolent God in this moment, a distrust in the love beat of the Fathers heart." There is a huge difference, and I believe that is reflected in this persons prayer. Though something hurts, though seasons do hurt at times, we can thank Him and trust Him that it is all for our good and His glory.

Second thing that stood out to me is the honesty. The raw transparency in telling God exactly what's going on. I like to think I'm that honest with God, but lately, I'm not so sure. I have often found myself just pushing away all the 'stuff' going on in my mind, and just trying to pray Scripture and 'holy' prayers. But the reality is, God wants all the stuff. He wants to hear what's on our mind and in our heart. He wants to know what we're thinking and feeling - and He wants to hear it from us. In that way, He humors us. He can see it all, and could just deal with it without us ever knowing, but He knows we need to process. He knows we need to talk and yell and get it all out. I recently listened to a brilliant message by Steffany Frizzell in which she says "God is not afraid of the stuff, all the thoughts in your head... He's asking us to get good at the process, to learn to commune in the process." God is not scared of the walls we put up, or all the junk that swirls in our head. He just wants us to process it with Him, and be honest with Him about it.

And finally, when this person prays 'I never would have chosen this for me.' I don't know about you, but I often think this. Pretty much my entire life is not what I would have chosen for me, and yet I see His Grace in every part of it. I see that all of what I am doing, and all of what I have been through is necessary in order for me to be what He wants me to be. The life I would have chosen for me would be safe, and ensured my happiness, but it would not have brought Him as much glory. I think sometimes we have to realize that God sees a lot more than us. He knows what we need. He knows who we need to be. And sometimes things happen that are not what we would have chosen. Things happen that tear us down, and teach us lessons we didn't know we needed to learn, but it's all from His Love and through His love.

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He's doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. - C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Be honest this week, friends. Tell God what's on your mind, what's in your heart. Realize it's okay to lament, to cry out in belief to a good God, a God Who loves you enough to hear it all. Know that though what God is doing in your life may hurt and be unexpected, it's for your good and His Glory.
Don't give up, Beloved.

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