May 22, 2016

Psalm 88:1, 18 O Lord, the God who saves me,
day and night I cry out before you.
You have taken my companions and loved ones from me;
the darkness is my closest friend.

This is the prayer of a seriously depressed person. Details are sketchy, but he may have lost family and friends in some sort of disaster. It’s not comfortable to read! That said, Heman the Ezrahite (the purported author) had one thing definitely right, and that was presenting his ravaged soul to God. His prayer is to “God of my salvation,” which makes it personal rather than general. I would be very confident that God did answer Heman, even if it was not in the way that he thought he wanted as he was praying this. God doesn’t want us to dress up what’s going on inside us when we come to Him, He wants us to be honest, and Heman was doing that. Too often we think our thoughts and feelings are “inappropriate” to express to God. The only thing that is inappropriate is pride. If we know that He is our only hope, and that He is love, then go for it. He is never surprised or shocked by anything we say, even if a bystander might be surprised or shocked to hear it come from our lips. Actually. I’ve been surprised at some of the things the Holy Spirit has spoken through me in prayer! If we have the attitude of humble dependence on God, there are no restrictions as to what and how we pray.

This is something I try to get across to people, but many of them have real trouble receiving it. They think prayers should be “pretty,” or at least “skillful,” and don’t think they are capable of praying well. The only skill involved in prayer is opening your heart to God! As I keep remembering, I was raised in a family that considered prayer as natural as breathing, but few people have had that blessing. Because I am so comfortable with prayer, people think I am “skillful,” and so feel intimidated. That’s unfortunate. I am never to put anyone down for what or how they pray, but rather encourage them to pray. We have the promise of the Holy Spirit to help us when we don’t know what or how to pray, (Romans 8:26) so we need to take Him up on it and just cut loose.

Father, I believe You want this church to be a praying people, but I can’t make that happen in my strength or power. Thank You that our midweek prayer meeting has grown from three to four people. May more be added! I ask that You embolden each of the believers to trust You enough to pray about everything, all the time. May we grow in fellowship and obedience to You by taking full advantage of the privilege of prayer, to be and do all that You desire and intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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