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Honest to God

A friend and I went to breakfast to talk about problems in his life. He had money problems, addiction problems, immorality problems and relationship issues. Before we parted ways, I asked him to pray. His words went something like this: “Oh Lord, bless this day. Thanks for our time together. Thanks for your love for us. Help us to honor you in everything we do and say. Watch over our families, and thanks for all that you do, Amen.”

How often have I done the same thing? My life can be going to hell in a hand basket and my prayers sound like I’m a fifth grader in Sunday School without a care in the world. For some reason we feel like there is a ‘right’ way to pray. Often, our models for prayer are based on pop culture, bad theology and poor modeling.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of examples in Scripture where praying men and women are brutally honest with their creator. Consider Psalm 44:10: “You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale.” This statement reminds me of some of our yard sales. Someone will come by half an hour before we pack the truck for Goodwill, and ask to pay $1 for a bike we paid $120 for two years ago. The Psalmist tells God that he cares as little for his people as I did for the bike when I let the stranger have it. That’s a bold statement!

According to Hebrews 5, Jesus wasn’t afraid to be honest before His Father either. “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). As followers of Jesus, let’s pray for grace to ditch the inane, plastic prattle that sometimes passes for prayer and fully engage with our Father.

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