Messy Christians on the Go

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How To Pray Really Badly

The Lord has heard my supplication; The Lord will receive my prayer. – Psalm 6:9

The experience here recorded is mine. I can set to my seal that God is true. In very wonderful ways He has answered the prayers of His servant many and many a time. Yes, and He is hearing my present supplication, and He is not turning away His ear from me. Blessed be His holy name!

What then? Why, for certain the promise which lies sleeping in the psalmist’s believing confidence is also mine. Let me grasp it by the hand of faith: “The Lord will receive my prayer.” He will accept it, think of it, and grant it in the way and time which His loving wisdom judges to be best. I bring my poor prayer in my hand to the great King, and He gives me audience and graciously receives my petition. My enemies will not listen to me, but my Lord will. They ridicule my tearful prayers, but my Lord does not; He receives my prayer into His ear and His heart.

What a reception this is for a poor sinner! We receive Jesus, and then the Lord receives us and our prayers for His Son’s sake. Blessed be that dear name which franks our prayers so that they freely pass even within the golden gates. Lord, teach me to pray, since Thou hearest my prayers.

– From Faith’s Checkbook by C.H. Spurgeon

When I read this I was reminded of my sin of unbelief. I know God hears my prayers. I understand that much. But where I lose it is when he doesn’t answer them in the way I want him to. And when that happens, I immediately conclude he’s not listening to me, or worse, caring about me.

That’s utterly sinful because it maligns the character and promises of God. 

Truth is I want my prayers answered now and according to my will, not his.

Upon further reflection, I realized, too, that God is answering my prayers all around me, as well as in the lives of the people I pray for, but I don’t have eyes to see that because I insist on having the answers my way.

Just today a friend told me he had sold his last painting, the one that nobody wanted.

“You prayed for that, remember?” he said.

I hadn’t remembered.

That was another indictment. I  had prayed without expectation. My expectations of God were little, if they existed at all.

I was seeing things about my prayer life that were not pretty.

But instead of flogging myself and telling myself to do better next time, which I know I will fail at, I reminded myself of the gospel.

Jesus prayed perfect prayers, full of hope and faith and belief in God.

And God has put his perfect praying record to my account.

That’s my only hope. His prayers, not mine.

I can rest in that and keep praying!






How Not To Miss Out On Life

How often do we let things agitate and disturb our peace?

For me, the answer is everyday. A headache, lack of sleep, a nasty remark, pressure, anxiety…the list is endless.

In John 13, Jesus had just told his disciples that he was getting ready to die and leave them. Chapter 14 opens with their state of mind upon hearing those words.

“Let not your hearts be troubled.” Clearly they were agitated and distressed by the news of his leaving them.

How did Jesus comfort them then?

He didn’t say work harder, believe more, or pray more fervently. What he said was, “Believe in God; believe also in me.”

In other words, “Trust me.”

Then he reminded them he was going away in order to get the house ready for when he came to take them home, so they could all be together with him.

Sounds like a party to me.

But then Thomas (he of a literal mind) asked the question I would have asked: “Where are you going and how do I get there?”

The answer: Jesus was Thomas’ ticket home. Nobody gets through the door without him.

Another way of saying this is:

Jesus is the head of the family and you need him to get in.

And the way in is by remembering that Jesus is your life. Don’t look for it in work, relationships, hobbies, ministry, or your devotions.

This is true for this life and the next.

So if Jesus has given you everything you need, you can rest in his care. He already fixed your greatest need – your sin.

He’s not going to drop the ball now.