Today I’m happy to introduce Jennifer! She is going to share some beautiful wisdom on prayer. Jennifer Holmes is a Christian, a wife, a mom to three beautiful children, a music teacher, and a writer. She has struggled with depression and is passionate about sharing how the Bible helps her deal with the struggles of life. Her community is about acknowledging that life can be hard, while always thanking God for how good He is.
Does this ever happen to you?
You’re making your way through a difficult day or season. Maybe you’re struggling with depression, illness, difficult family situations, or you’re just plain tired and busy. As you make your way through the day, you start your inner dialogue. Thoughts like, “I can’t handle my life right now. Why is God asking me to do this? Where is the peace the Bible talks about? Why is everything a struggle? I wish my marriage was different. I wish my kids would listen to me. Why can’t I have the energy other women seem to have? Why can’t I just be happy? Why can’t things just be easy for once?”
This inner dialogue continues until its time for your morning or evening devotions or its time to pray for a meal. You stop the talking for a moment to pray. And it goes something like this. “Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day. Thank you for my wonderful family and all the blessings you’ve given me. Help me to be a blessing today. Be with so and so.” And on and on we go, pretending with God that everything is pretty amazing and we could use just a little extra help.
Does this ever happen to you? It does to me! It used to be the only way I prayed. I would talk to myself all day and then pretend that the Lord didn’t know any of it. As though that somehow made my devotional life more spiritual. As though it would be sacrilegious to tell God how I really felt.
Until one day I decided to completely change the way I prayed. One night I just sat and told Him everything. How I was mad about the way He made me. I have pain, I struggle with my weight, I struggle with depression, and I wasn’t happy about any of it. I knew how I was supposed to feel about it all – but at that point I couldn’t drum up any spiritual feelings and I was just plain angry and hurt. And I poured it all out. Every last dark secret. And I waited for the lightening to strike.
But it didn’t. Over years of Bible study, I’ve come to realize that God doesn’t always respond the way I think He will. God isn’t afraid of our feelings, neither is He unaware. And its not until we come to Him that He can start to help. To answer our questions. To give us the peace that we are looking for.
One of my new favourite Bible characters is Elijah. He had massive victories in his life, did amazing things for God, and yet struggled just like the rest of us. In I Kings 19, he’s running for his life from Jezebel after calling down fire from heaven. Granted, Jezebel was scary, but you’d think after such a victory he would have more faith in God. Instead, he lays down under a juniper tree and has devotions. Which only consisted of telling God he’s had enough and asking God to take his life. Talk about raw honesty. I can be afraid to tell God I’m having a bad day, and yet here is a giant of the faith asking God to die.
And God’s response is beautiful. First, he helps Elijah to rest. Then, in a still small voice, He assures Elijah of three things. That He will deal with his enemies, that He will send Elijah a partner, and that Elijah is not, and never has been, alone.
You see, honesty with God creates a beauty that cannot be found otherwise. God can answer our questions and give us the peace that we are looking for, but only when we come to Him with honesty and transparency.
So maybe today, you can carve out a little time in your devotions, or at lunch time, or better yet, stop that inner dialogue, and tell God how you really feel and ask Him how He can help. Because He’s not afraid of your feelings and always stands ready with the answers.
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