“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” John Bunyan
Dear Father – please heal my friend’s pinky toe. She stubbed it yesterday and she’s not quite sure what to do next. You see, the pinky toe had a fresh coat of nail polish on it and it’s all messed up now. Would you heal it please? And paint it gold? Thanks, as always. Amen.
Over the years I’ve participated in many small groups where prayer was a regular component. I’ve actually heard requests not far off from the one above. I have to pay attention to my bodily reaction because everything within me wants to furl my eyebrows and say, “Are you serious?”
I wonder how we got to the place of such inauthenticity that we’ve even run out of praying for every relative under the sun and now it’s about some minor life irritation?
What about our hearts? What about spiritual growth? What about how God is speaking to us, or how we can’t hear him? What about being afraid, and doubting and being in need, which we all experience.
Don’t we gather in these small groups to form bonds? To grow together? To be a loving community of believers?
Too often, we crave authenticity while simultaneously refusing to open up our vulnerabilities.
On the other hand, I recall times when someone young in their faith would join in. They were timid, afraid of praying out loud for what others might think or for how they might get it wrong. When they did, there words were honest, real and fresh. In some cases I was blown away by the insights and humility offered in their simple prayers. Lacking in theology while profound & true to the heard of God. Authentic.
I think all of us are inclined to go to God when we’re in deep doo doo. But in general, we’re afraid of allowing our woundedness, our brokenness, and our imperfections show. We turn to head knowledge and surface level issues instead of heart matters.
Because we stay at a head level, with others and with God, the heart of our doubts and ungodly beliefs aren’t exposed, challenged and given room to grow. We miss out on the trans-formative growth God desires for us, the kind which brings out unbelievable beauty.
If we desire to see God move in and through us, it’s vitally important to our spiritual and emotional health to get honest. I call it gut-level honest, because it’s felt deeply.
We choose to play a shell game in order to keep our true selves from being seen. Yet, all the while, our hearts are desperate to be seen, to be known, to be loved and unconditionally expected.
Choosing anything other than an honest look at the state of our hearts prevents us from receiving God’s comfort, guidance & nurturing which comes through the Holy spirit and through the fellowship of God’s people whom we’re designed to be in relationship with.
Shame has a way of keeping us in hiding. We don’t want to be found out for who we know we are. But the trap is, when there is shame there are also faulty beliefs about who we really are. How God sees us.
We tell ourselves to be strong, and believe we must always show worldly strength. We tell ourselves to be over comers, which we are, but we act out a belief that victory comes from how great a job we’ve done, rather than the greatest work already done for us. In the finished and complete work of Jesus at the cross.
Every time we choose to put on a front, knowingly or not, we are choosing to trust in the power of man over the power of God.
I can tell you how beautiful this is, but you have to experience it to know it be true. I believe that if you take the risk with God, you’ll see how trustworthy He is.
When we believe in the power of vulnerability in the presence of God, our prayers begin to reflect it because our hearts are more supple to the ways of God. We expose greater trust, truer humility and beautiful authenticity. We also pave the way for experiencing community with others in the way God designed it to be.
What if, we realized today that God already sees and knows, every struggle, every impure thought, every doubt, and every ungodly rooted motive. What if we were comforted in the fact that he still loves us anyway. Deeply. Unwaveringly. With great commitment to our best?
What if, we were vulnerable with God in our prayers & saw how deeply loved we were in return?
Thank you for joining me in #31DaystoBelieve as we pursue what we believe and how it impacts our lives.
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May we learn to #livewell.