When Our Prayers Get Honest!

“As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to You in Your holy Temple.” (Jonah 2:7 NLT)

My most frightening dream finds me alone in the ocean at night with nothing but a life jacket. My feet dangling below me in the darkness, numb from the cold water, anticipating any second to become shark bait. How might you pray in those moments? “Dear Lord, please bless this day.” Or perhaps, “Oh, Lord, remember me?” Or how about just being honest, “Lord, I’m scared out of my wits. Thank You for making Your presence and protection real. Thank You for making a way for me to be found.”

We don’t always realize it, but prayer, at its core, is always a lifeline to our Father. We never know what the next second holds, as we’re always and only one breath from meeting Him face to face.

When I was in High School, I took a lifesaving course at a local YMCA. I wasn’t a great swimmer, so just knowing how to save myself would have been helpful. One part of the process was learning to deal with someone who was resisting you when you tried to save them. Our instructions were to pair up with someone and to hold them under the water until they stopped fighting.

My understanding was that we would choose a partner and decide who was going to be the “victim,” but before I could even say “would you like to be my partner?” this big guy shoved my head under the water. I’m not sure if he thought I was just playing along, but, having had no time to take a breath, I was drowning and fighting for all I was worth to break his death grip on me. I literally thought I was going to die, and not knowing the Lord then, prayer was the last thing on my mind.

As I remember that scenario it causes me to wonder what goes through someone’s mind in critical circumstances who doesn’t know the Lord. I tend to think that anyone would call out to God, but if they haven’t been exposed to an environment where people they knew prayed, why would they? I’m confident there are those who don’t believe God exists or feel that even if there was a God, why would He listen to them?

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

What do you believe about prayer? In an emergency or frightening situation, would prayer be your first thought? In the movies often the first words out of someone’s mouth in a difficult circumstance is “Oh, God!” But what does that mean?

J.D. Greear wrote: “Until we are fully open and honest with Jesus about our problems, we can’t get help for them.” But, here again, what does that mean? Sometimes we pray like God doesn’t already know every detail about what we’re going to ask Him. It’s like we’re trying to spare Him the gory details, or like He doesn’t already know our every thought before we open our mouth.

So, what might it look like to be “fully open and honest with Jesus?” I believe it has to begin with being fully open and honest with ourselves. In our heart and mind, what is the ideal outcome? What do we want God to do? How do we want Him to intervene? And, yes, I know, prayer isn’t an opportunity for us to give God instructions, but if we don’t have an idea of what we want Him to do, how will we recognize His answer?

My wife and I like to watch series on TV. We enjoyed the movie “The Lincoln Lawyer,” so we checked out a series by that same title. In one of the episodes the main character hired a young woman who was a recovering addict to be his driver. She said to him, who was also a recovering addict: “You can’t recover until you know what you’re recovering from.”

I believe being “open and honest” with the Lord essentially means we need to understand why we’re praying in the first place. Then ask in faith believing the Lord will respond, not only to our words, but to the attitude of our heart.

Let’s look at this further in tomorrow’s post.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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