8 Minute Read + Scripture readings
Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
“Listen to my words, LORD; consider my sighing. Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to you.”
Psalm 5:1-2 (CSB)
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
As a child and teenager, I remember that my prayers were so lifeless. They were rigid and stiff. They were predictable with all of the same phrases, used over and over. Even in those times when my heart was aching, my words came out tame and weren’t even close to conveying what I was really feeling.
When I left for college, I soon went into a deep depression that lasted for a few years. I was in a dark tunnel and often entertained very dangerous thoughts. I vividly remember driving down a road, thinking how easy it would be to simply turn the wheel and refuse to hit the brakes. There were other scenarios that I won’t describe.
My point in saying this is to describe what my heart was experiencing a few decades ago. It was in those years that my prayers changed. I found that my previous rote, predictable, tame prayers were now nauseating to me. I desperately wanted to be real with God about what was going on in my heart.
Yet, I had heard so many sermons that seemed to forbid such honesty. Well-intentioned preachers said that we dare not express our anger to God. We had better not unload on Him because He wasn’t our buddy – He was the God of all Creation. So, when we approached Him, our prayers had better fit the occasion for someone so powerful.
Fortunately, I started to read the Psalms in those dark years. As I read my Bible and tucked it under my pillow each night (I desired to keep it close), I heard the Psalmist crying out to God. I heard him express his questions, his anxiety, even his anger to God.
There were even times went the Psalmist acted like God was not paying attention so he demanded that God sit up and listen…
Psalm 5:1-2 (CSB): “Listen to my words, LORD; consider my sighing. Pay attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for I pray to you.”
As I pored over the Psalms, I realized that God wanted to know exactly what was going on in my heart. He wanted me to be completely honest with Him. If I was anxious, He wanted me to tell Him. If I felt like He was being unjust, He wanted me to tell Him. If I was scared, He wanted me to be honest about that and every other emotion, too.
You see, I learned that if I refuse to be honest about what’s going on in my heart, then I’m being a hypocrite. My words aren’t matching what I’m feeling. Jesus made it clear in the Gospels how much he despises hypocrisy. Even if He doesn’t necessarily like what we are doing or feeling, He wants us to be honest with ourselves and Him.
Further, when I’m not honest about what I’m feeling in prayer, then I’m acting like God either doesn’t care or can’t handle the truth. That means that I don’t trust His love or I don’t trust my relationship with Him. I can’t imagine how this attitude must grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30)!
Friend, God is more gracious and loving and patient with us than we could ever possibly imagine. He wants us to be honest with Him.
During this time in our nation’s and world’s history when life is so difficult, be honest with the Lord in prayer. Tell Him exactly what’s going on in your heart. His relationship with you is strong enough to handle anything you say to Him. In fact, your relationship requires such honesty.
So, pray with all your heart. Pray what’s on your heart. And let the Psalms guide you in this journey into a deeper, more meaningful relationship with your Heavenly Father.
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Lord Jesus, You have told me over and over in the Scriptures that God is my Heavenly Father. That means that I have a familial relationship with each person in the Trinity. Please help me to understand how honesty with my questions and emotions is what You desire from me in my prayers. Yet, help me not to get perpetually stuck in negative, sinful thought patterns but to always be moving in faith toward holiness on my life’s journey to becoming more like You. Amen.