Pouring out my heart to the Lord a few weeks ago in my journal, I wrote this entry on prayer that continues to be convicting for me. I’m posting is here in hopes that it might be helpful for all you who struggle to pray. Which, if I were a betting man, I bet is all of us.
You can’t pray, not really, from a place that is dishonest. If you try, your prayer will be nothing more than a failed attempt at praying. It will not be real, true prayer. God relates to us in truth. That is to say he relates to us in and through His Word, but it is also to say that He relates to us in the truth of ourselves. If we speak to God in a way that is not personally truthful, our intimacy with God is lost. Dishonest prayer creates distance between us and God. Such prayer feels fake, because it is. Such prayer feels like a performance, because it is. Such prayer will have no power and will leave you wearied. God will not be in it.
Sadly, this is how the religious life is conducted for so many of us. We talk truth, but we’re dishonest in heart. We live a divided life.
Some of us choose this path because it’s how we cope with our broken dreams. We’ve come to realize we’re not who we always hoped or expected we’d be. But instead of confession and repentance (the means of recovery), we use religion as a means of keeping that dream alive, or at least the appearance of that dream alive. Interestingly, we give up spiritually but not religiously. We still play “the part” even when there’s no heart. It’s our last ditch effort to hold onto our fantasy.
God, however, wants us to know that our broken dreams is His mercy. In dashing our ideals (idols) about ourselves, God is helping us get over ourselves. He’s helping us abandon the fantasies we’ve believed about ourselves, so we can get into Him and know His true dream for us. For that to happen, you must pray your heart, not your persona. God wants you as you are. He’ll do the rest.