“Prayer is overrated.”
Okay, I may have stepped to the left when I said that—to avoid the lightning, don’tcha know. I’d had it. Absolutely fed up with this prayer business.
We talk about having a “little talk with Jesus” or those “sweet hour(s) of prayer,” but I’d never enjoyed them. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about how prayer failed me and what it was like. This thing is as raw and real and “authentic” as they come when it talks about what my prayer life was like. Or so I thought.
Since I began spending my nights at The Lighthouse… our city prayer house…, I’ve discovered something else about me and that thing we call prayer.
I wasn’t as open and real as I thought. So, let’s just bare the soul a bit more. Why not? Pride goes before a fall, and I don’t have time to fall further anytime soon.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy of this book, opinions I give freely and are only influenced by my personal experience in reading that book.
My 3 Most Embarrassing Confessions about Prayer
1. It often feels like a waste of time.
Look, my head knows it isn’t. God said to do it. That’s enough. Period. I believe this. I know it deep in my soul. It’s just that my heart, that wicked, deceitful thing that tries to rule our days, whispers lies to me. God knows you. He knows what you’d pray for anyway. Why do you need to tell Him what He already knows?
Okay, there’s some validity to this argument of my heart. So many prayers are full of us reminding God of what He knows. “Lord, You know how Janie really wants to go to Australia. You know how she needs to turn that desire over to You and trust You for the funding if You want her to do it. You know…”
Ya think? Maybe? Just maybe God knows what He knows?
Here’s the thing. Feelings are real. They’re raw and they come from deep places within us. But they lie. Prayer is never a waste of time. Talking to the Lord, even about what He knows, isn’t a waste of your time or His.
My kids often tell me things I know. Here’s a hint. I almost never tell them, “Yeah, your sister told me” or worse, “You already told me that.” Why? Because it doesn’t matter if someone has already told you something. They want to share their heart. They want to connect with you. Listen.
It’s rude to say, “Oh, I know that already.” That may be what you say, but what they hear is, “I don’t care—it’s a waste of my time to hear what I’ve already heard.”
It’s never a waste of my time or the Lord’s for me to tell Him what we both know I’ve experienced, thought, felt, or learned.
2. (Warning: this one really stinks.) I’ve probably prayed about poop more than I have anything else in my life.
No, I don’t have constipation. Just dumping that out there in case people want to share all their remedies that I don’t need (feel myself flushing already… cannot believe I am even writing this). But I’m also leaving this here. I said most embarrassing—well, that one is probably THE most embarrassing thing. Moving on…
3. I sometimes try to whitewash my sin confessions.
No, really. I do. So, embarrassing. It’s like having a face coated with chocolate and saying, “No, Lord. I didn’t eat chocolate! I just smeared it on my face to… fool You! Yeah. That.
Sigh. He knows every single thought I’ve had, every bad attitude, every snarky comment I’ve made, every single thing I haven’t done that I should and all the things I have that I shouldn’t.
And I think I can say, “I was a little ungracious toward that server at Denny’s last night…” when what I really did was bark at her and say, “Is it possible for you to get the order right?” (Hint: this isn’t a real thing. I’ve got way too much pride to share something I’d actually done. Okay, and I can’t actually remember a good example right now. I know… I know…
But see, the one thing I do remember to pray for is…that I’ll forget my sins just as God does. I’ll remember only what He wants me to do instead of focusing on what I can’t change. So, that’s a prayer that He sometimes answers. Like now. When I actually want to remember it.
I say God has a sense of humor.
Yep. I’m kind of a messed up person.
God knew that before He came. Before He Died. Long before He saved my sorry hide and made me beautiful to Him again. My prayers are still pathetic—in my eyes. But thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit to make them acceptable.
So thankful for that.
So, what’s all this about prayer?
I read a book last night—Prayer Warrior Confessions.
This collection of prayerful testimonies is full of yeses, noes, and insteads from the Lord in the lives of some of His saints. Many of the stories take place in Africa among missionary families, but not all.
It’s an easy read—each testimony taking only a few minutes. I found it difficult to keep reading and reading, one after the other. Had I realized how it would play out, I would have chosen to read one or two a day over the course of a couple of weeks or so.
To that end, I think this being part of a family or personal Bible study on prayer would be a great idea. Reading how the Lord works in the lives of others is always a great addition to prayer.
Also, those who enjoy missionary stories will find Prayer Warrior Confessions rich and rewarding to read. I really enjoyed the book, but as I said, I personally would have enjoyed it more in smaller doses. My fault, not the authors’.
I suspect I’ll be buying a few copies for gifts over the next year—the first going into the library at The Lighthouse. I mean, we need it, right?