We can learn a lot from our own prayers. Actually, I love reading my old posts. It does two things for me:
- Reminds me that God is faithful
- Reminds me that most things are temporary.
Before I let you read the older post, I want to make some points about learning from past prayers beyond the two I just posted. I think the two points above are self-explanatory.
We can learn about from our own prayers about just how honest we’ve been
There have been hundreds of books written about prayer. I own a lot of them, not to mention the ones I’ve read but didn’t keep. It’s an all-consuming passion of mine.
Probably because, honestly, I find it elusive and at times it seems to be the least effective spiritual discipline in my life. Before you judge me, you know down deep in your heart, you have felt the same way at times. When we cease to be honest about our doubts we hinder our prayer conversations with God.
We learn from our older prayers that sometimes we are less than honest and often pretend we are something we are not. It’s quite foolish when you think about it. This is God we are praying to. If he doesn’t see through our fakery, who does?
And even though God does see our true self with all our warts, he won’t penetrate that layer to accomplish his plan in our lives. He has to have a willing heart. We learn how honest we are from our former prayers.
When we come to prayer in a kind of “false” state and pretend to be something other than we are, how does God get through to us? Our hearts are clothed with a film of pretense much like the film that forms over milk after it’s been scalded and cooled. But we have to remove that film before we can drink the milk.
How our own prayers show a crack in the relationship
Falsehood creates a barrier between us and God. Think about a conversation you might have with a child who is caught in the act of doing something wrong and you try to have a conversation with them to address this wrong. You aren’t going anywhere without that child being honest first. We give that child a time-out, don’t we? Without giving that child some time to reconsider and admit their wrongdoing, nothing constructive is going to happen.
Another example. You hurt a friend’s feelings. You both know it. Until you apologize and try to make things right, that relationship will continue to suffer.
When we are less than honest with God, as evidenced by our own prayers, a crack in our relationship with God surfaces.
God doesn’t give time-outs so to speak but in a way he does. Take, for example, the fourteen-year timeout for Abraham after he has a child with Hagar, his wife’s servant, instead of waiting on God to fulfill his promise for a child by Sarah, his wife.
If people like Phillip Yancy, Dallas Willard, Charles Spurgeon, all admit to questioning the efficacy of their own prayers at times, why should any of us do less? It is in honest questioning and searching that we get to the heart of such matters. A careful reading of scripture supports God’s openness to our sincere questioning.
How we can learn to question GodWhen we question God come with two open hands and not a clenched fist. The one God honors, the other, he doesn't. Click To Tweet
First of all, we know Job questioned God. Also, we know Sarah and Abraham questioned God. But none of them dropped dead because of it either. However, they questioned God with a desire to understand and grow closer to him. They questioned him with open hands meaning with a desire to learn not to accuse.
However, to learn from our own prayers, we need to have some sort of record. I didn’t realize that blogging would become my way of recording some of my former prayers. So, I suggest you keep some sort of record, either a journal or a private blog. Just a few lines would suffice. Many people keep a prayer journal. Although I’ve never done that, I wish I had.
Rereading this post from seven years ago reaffirmed for me that prayer is a process. Furthermore, I learned from this older prayer that prayer is an adventure as much as it is a spiritual discipline. Here’s the post.
Here’s the post:
When I began blogging, especially on “depressionsgift.com”, I promised to be honest, to let you in on some situations as they were happening. This is one such occasion.
These past twenty-four hours have been a roller coaster ride-although mostly down with only an occasional up. There has been a couple of ongoing situations that have been very stressful. Mostly because they involve people I love deeply. I even took a nap I was so overwhelmed. That is extremely uncommon for me.
During my devotions this morning, I pleaded with God (whined might be a better word) about why he hadn’t answered certain of my prayers yet. I reminded him of Ephesians 3:20 that says that “God is able to do more than we can ever even think of according to the power that works in us”. So I prayed, “OK, Lord if I can’t even think of it, how can I ask for it? So I asked the Holy Spirit to intercede for me and bring these “things I can’t even imagine” to God on my behalf.
I feel like the day has been spent on my knees even if it were only in my head and I am exhausted.
What eventually happened.
It’s getting late and I feel so blessed to report that one of those prayers has been answered. It’s the one that was “time-sensitive”. Now if you think I’m making the point that it was all my hard praying that made the difference, I’m not.
Actually, the older I get the less I’m sure of why certain prayers get answered and others don’t. That doesn’t bother me at all to admit that. It means I’m finally learning to trust more, with or without answers.
I’m learning to keep praying no matter what. Or maybe I’m learning patience. At this point, I couldn’t tell you. I’m just glad I’m getting ready to go to bed. As Scarlett O’Hara said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.”
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PS. This is kind of a red-letter day. I am using a program called Yoast that helps with SEO. Today is the first day I’ve gotten a total 100% across all dimensions! Yea! Took me hours to get this relatively short post ready.