“I didn’t do it. I swear. Honest to God,” Jimmy said. When you hear that, you know that either Jimmy really didn’t do it or Jimmy did it and so has to exaggerate his innocence. Fortunately, we don’t have to decide whether or not Jimmy did it, whatever “it” is. However, like many people, Jimmy was calling on the Lord in a strange way—honest to God. But, what does it mean to be really honest to God in your prayers?
Honest to God Praying Is Not About You or the Audience
The first thing to note about honest to God praying is that it is to God. Tell me if this happens to you: It’s just you and God. You go to pray and yet you find yourself overly concerned with whether or not you’re saying the right words. It’s as if the words become more important than the fact that you’re praying to God. Or, here’s a different scenario.
You’re in a group at church or elsewhere. The leader asks you to say a prayer. Suddenly, you’re nervous. You don’t know if you will say the right words. You wonder how other people will receive it. Will you do a good job? On the other hand, you may be accustomed to praying and/or speaking in public and your concern is different. Your focus is on whether or not you will impress others.
Any of those concerns misses the point of honest to God praying. Yes. Even when you pray with and on behalf of others your focus has to be on God. Okay. You want to be aware of them enough to pray their concerns and situations. However, honest to God praying is well, honest and to God.
Honest to God Praying Is to God
Whether you are alone or with others, it is always to God that you pray, otherwise, could it really be considered prayer? Hence, you can forget about you and the others except for awareness of needs and joys. Replace that with focusing on God. Focus on God and remember who God is. Remember that God is love and faithfulness. Remember God’s mercy and grace. Remember that God is the loving parent who goes to meet the rebellious child who is returning home.
Ah. Now you can have confidence. In addition, remember that you have the great high priest, Jesus Christ:
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14–16).
Yes. There is every reason to go to God with honest to God praying.
As I say in my forthcoming book, How to Pray: Living Wholly With Honest, Surrendered, Heart Praying:
It’s important to settle that we are praying to God. This frees us as we learn more about and connect more fully with God; this frees us as we remember God’s unconditional love for us.
Prayer is a precious gift. Don’t spoil it by being consumed by a sense of inadequacy or fear of putting the wrong foot forward. Go to God with honest to God praying. Really.
How are you praying honest to God prayers?
Experience God more fully through honest, surrendered, heart praying and live with greater clarity and peace.
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