Praying Without Pretense

I recently started setting aside time in the morning and evening to pray… because I’ll be honest- I’ve been slacking. Paul was right when he said in 1 Corinthians 7:34

An unmarried woman or a virgin is concerned about the things of the Lord, so that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the things of the world—how she may please her husband.

Throw in an almost 2 year old and a full-time job and the “things of Lord” are often a desperate “God, help me” as I chase Sarah around the house. But, no more excuses! I have “purposed in my heart” to start and end my day with him!

Since I have started praying- I can already see God at work. First, he revealed hurts in my heart that I did not realize were still there and has already begun the healing process. He showed me how these “hurts” were affecting my relationship with him and keeping me from moving forward in what he has called me to do. And that was just day 1.

1 John 5:15 says:

 Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.

Not only is God answering my prayers, but he is changing them. My heart was so poisoned by these hurts (without me even realizing it) that I was praying, but not doing so effectively. I was speaking out anger, bitterness, sadness, pride, etc. I spent more of my time complaining because I believed my circumstances were unfair. I felt entitled. My mantra became: “I don’t deserve this,” but my complaints only exacerbated how I was already feeling. Talk about a viscous cycle!

Until finally, I went to a service and asked Sam to watch Sarah while I prayed. I was resolved that this time would be different. I was going to lay it all at his feet. No pretenses. I would be brutally honest… and I was. And so was he. In that moment, God showed me heart. I was taken aback by what I saw. Proverbs 4:23 says:

Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. 

The problem wasn’t my circumstances… the problem was me! I was dying because I had left my heart unguarded and vulnerable to the enemy’s attack. The only way to survive would be to uproot and tear down the strongholds the enemy had set up to protect the lies he had planted there. The only way to do that is through prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says:

 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Guarding our hearts does not mean no one will ever hurt our feelings, but it does mean that we can take that hurt and give it to God. Some hurts we might have to give him over and over again, but prayer does not have to be “fake it until you make it”. That does more harm than good. There is no room for pretense in your secret place… it will only render ineffective your prayers! He sees right through that. He sees your heart. Ask him to help you see it too. So that when you pray- you do so with power, and without pretense!

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