Thursday, June 6, 2013

Honest Prayer--by Linden Malki

Honesty is not only the "best policy", it is the best prayer. Not only does God know what we need before we ask, He also knows what we feel, whether we admit it or not. We can fool ourselves, but we can't fool God. Philip Yancey, in his marvelous book on prayer: " I have sometimes wondered why God places such a high value on honesty, even to the extent of enduring unjust outbursts. As I review the prayers recorded in the Bible, I am startled to see how many have a tone of petulance: Jeremiah griping about unfairness, Job conceding, 'What profit should we have if we pray unto Him?'; Habakkuk accusing God of deafness. The Bible schools us to pray with blistering honesty."* He can deal with our anger, our hurts, our frustrations, even our desire for vengeance. When we act on our pain, we usually merely cause more pain. "Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord." Can we give Him our pain, and trust Him to judge?

A compass works because a small magnetic needle will align itself with the powerful magnetic field of the Earth. If we truly want our lives to point in the right direction, we have to allow ourselves to be aligned with the reality of God. "We may feel we should be protected from all grief and pain when, in fact, it is an unavoidable consequence of engaging in the spiritual battles that come with following the Lord. If we take the pain and even the losses we experience to the cross, God can use them to make us more compassionate, more courageous and more like Jesus."** If our primary goal as a Christian is to sing only happy songs and read only "happy verses" in the face of honest reality, this is very different from the reality of the Bible.

I am not smart enough to tell God how to run the universe, or how to fix the people in my life. I can only recognize truth and release the hard work to God. But this does not mean limiting ourselves to the earthly reality that we see; we can ask for bigger things than we can accomplish on our own, knowing that if we get out of His way, He has plans that we cannot even imagine.

* Philip Yancey, Prayer, p66
**David Brickner, Executive Director of Jews for Jesus

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