There are more than a few Christians who are … er … well … um … hypocrites … (ouch, that hurt!) … when it comes to prayer.
That sounds harsh but here’s what I’m talking about: Something is going on in the life of a believer and there is obvious inner turmoil in their heart. Maybe they question God’s love for them. Maybe they question if God is even listening. Maybe they question why God would allow such a tragedy to happen. Maybe, just maybe, they’re angry at God for not heading off some evil at the pass.
But, if you listened to their prayers, you wouldn’t hear about this inner turmoil. Why? Because they think it’s wrong to be brazenly honest with God in their prayers.
They can’t imagine expressing their frustration Him. So, they keep it quiet. There ends up being a part of their life that they simply will not share with Him.
The result: They experience inner turmoil while praying boring, tame, predictably worded prayers with no hint of that inner turmoil. Do you know what someone is when they present themselves outwardly to be something different than what they are inwardly – a hypocrite.
So, what am I saying?
Am I saying that if you are questioning God that you should tell Him exactly how you feel?
Am I saying that if you are upset at God that you should be completely honest with Him and let it all out in your conversations with Him?
Well, my answer to those questions doesn’t matter. What does God’s Word say about it?
In my Bible reading this morning, I came across Psalm 13. Listen to how King David prayed:
“O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
“Turn and answer me, O LORD my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
“But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the LORD
because he is good to me.”
I think that one of the reasons that King David, who wrote this psalm, was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) was because his heart was true. He wasn’t sinless – not by a long shot. But, his relationship with his God was real. Rugged, but real. If he felt it, he expressed it.
But, notice one more thing. After David expressed his inner turmoil to God, he always ended up in a happy place. He ended this psalm by saying that not matter what questions he had, he was going to trust in his God and sing of His goodness.
So, don’t be a hypocrite. Be honest with God in your prayers. But, make sure you end up in a good place with Him before you say “Amen.”