If you’re a praying person or have been around praying people, what does a typical prayer sound like to you?
If your experience growing up was anything like mine, it probably sounded like this:
“O Lord, thank you, Lord for all the things you’ve given us, Lord Jesus, and we just ask that you’d bless us Lord and be with us Lord Jesus Lord…”
“Lord, here’s a whole lot of stuff I need. Could you give me all of it? Thanks! Oh, and here’s a list of people who are sick from the common cold to cancer, could you heal them? Thanks, again! Amen!”
Often our prayers can either take on a very pious tone because we don’t want to come off as needy or we can go the other way, we get so caught up in asking for things that we treat our Heavenly Father like Santa instead of a loving parent.
Is that really what prayer is all about? Asking God for stuff or trying to sound impressive?
Praying to ask God for the right things (a topic for another time) or simply thanking him for his goodness, grace, mercy, and love are good things but I want to take a quick look at some Scripture from a man named Jeremiah to see a different type of prayer that I think is under utilized in the life of most Christians.
Jeremiah’s ministry was a failure. He saw zero converts in approximately 40 years, yet he was faithful to what he was called to do.
Here’s how he prayed in the middle of all that:
“O LORD, you have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long. Everyone mocks me.” (Jeremiah 20.7)
Jeremiah’s response to being being mocked was not to be thankful for it or to ignore it. Instead, he told God he felt deceived and lied to. He was angry.
He was wounded and he wanted to let God know. He never prayed “O LORD, thank you for those who hurt my feelings. It’s such a blessing to feel like garbage all day.”
He opened himself up and poured himself out to God. His anger, frustration, and disappointment
That’s something that gets missed in prayers today.
We are afraid to let God know when we’re hurting and why we’re hurting.
We’re afraid to admit when we’re a little angry.
As if he isn’t aware of it.
There’s something in us that needs this kind of prayer. We need to let God know the when and why of our hurting. It’s ok.
Confession is good for the soul and not just confession of sin.
We can confess our worries. Our wounds. Our hurts and heartaches.
When we say it out loud to God in prayer it can be like ripping our ribcage open so our heart has room to breathe.
There were many times during the planting process for me when it was just God and I at the building and I would walk around the building pouring my heart out to Him. Angrily.
Did it always change things? Nope. But it was always therapeutic. I always prayed through it and felt closer to God for it even when answers or solutions never came.
Like Jeremiah, I’d vent and then I’d remember “But the LORD is with me like a dread champion; Therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.”
God would remind me that I’ve never been promised to not go through hurt or sickness but that he’d be with me through it all and that’s enough.
It’s ok to pour out our hearts in this way. In fact, it’s biblical.
I’d love to encourage you all to try dropping the superficial prayers that we sometimes offer (that God sees right through anyway) and start praying through our anger and hurt.
Pray it out loud.
Pray through your anger.
God will see you through it and you may find a whole new level to your prayers and your relationship with your Creator.