Can one person make difference:
Honest to God
Just before the first verse of Psalm 102, there is a simple and telling superscription: “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the Lord.” Wow, what an introduction! What follows are raw, honest, tear-streaked words.
Do you sometimes feel like “an afflicted person who has grown weak”? I know I do.
Can we be totally honest with God in prayer? Should we be? I believe the answer to both of these questions is a bold “Yes!” For many years I was confused about this topic. I can’t identify exactly where it came from, but I had a sense that it might be disrespectful or dishonoring to tell God everything that was on my heart. Being well aware of my own sinfulness and brokenness caused me to hold back and not pray with unrestrained transparency.
It was my love for the book of Psalms that brought me to a place of breakthrough. As I immersed myself in these biblical prayers, the Holy Spirit gave me insight, clarity, and fresh conviction that honest prayers are not only allowed, but they please God. Throughout the Psalms, I heard other passionate followers of God bring their pain, fear, anger, and struggles into the presence of the Lord of glory. These prayers struck me as raw, vulnerable, fear-filled, shocking at times, and encouraging.
As I began praying the psalms and letting these ancient songs pray for me, honesty began to feel natural. Rather than being irreverent, my truthful prayers felt God-honoring. Instead of creating a sense of guilt, they freed me to pour out my heart and discover new depths of grace.
At its core, prayer is an honest conversation with the God who is absolute truth. When our prayers lack honesty, they lack power. Praying with an open heart means recognizing that God already sees everything. Even what we wish was hidden. This frees us to express ourselves with intentional transparency because we know that God is sovereign and omniscient. He knows everything about us and he still loves us.
Are you hurting today? Be honest about it. Pray your own prayer of lament before God.
A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.
Hear my prayer, O Lord , and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. But thou, O Lord , shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time, is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord , and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord . For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord . He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.
Psalms 102:1-28 KJV