No Pretending Honest Prayers

I used to be really good at playing pretend but then I got tired.  Somewhere along the road, I realized that playing games can get real old.

When I stopped pretending, that’s when I learned how to pray

Stop pretending that everything is ok when it is not

Stop pretending like it doesn’t hurt when it does

Stop pretending that I want to do the right thing when everything in me is screaming go left

Stop pretending like I am perfect.  Oh you already knew…I am not

So I pray

Real prayer

No script

No pretense

Honest I don’t want to do it God

This is just not fair God

How come God?

Child to parent dialogue

My Good Good Father…He listens

I cry

I whisper the darkest secrets of my heart

Thoughts I didn’t even know where there, ugly thoughts

Prayer is my therapy, I unload the burden

He continues to listens

Yes I have a really good father… I am blessed like that

I am learning He is not looking for an act

He requires honesty

The kind of honesty that scares nice church folks

Yep I know the right answer… I shouldn’t think like that

But what happens when I do

Confession:  And I sometimes do

I pray

Honest Prayers

No pretense cause that’s outdated and ineffective

In honest prayers, I am not the only one that speaks

My good good father he response

With love

With His truth

He knows that even in my brokenness

Even in my humanity

I have said Yes to His will, Yes to Him being Lord of my life

A Yes I won’t take back

So in my no pretending prayer

He molds me

He refreshes me

He reminds me

He corrects me

He fills me again with His spirit,

Bringing an even greater death to Anika

How about you over there, have you been praying no pretending prayers?  Or is it difficult for you to share the ugly parts of you with God?  Leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

DO NOT PRAY LIKE A POLITICIAN…THE POWER OF UNCENSORED PRAYER!

 

Politicians are notorious for telling voters what they want to hear. To win your vote, they make promises they know they won’t keep. They sing us sweet lullabies of better days ahead. They go to great lengths and hire people to write speeches that will evoke loud applauses. Election time can become one big circus.  If I am not careful, I can fall into the trap of praying like a politician.

God is not concerned about me giving speeches in prayer; telling Him what I think He wants to hear. He is not asking me to make empty promises. He is not asking me to have well thought out phrases and giving Him my resume. He is not impressed by any of this.
I had the privilege to once again hear this dynamic man of God speak this weekend.  He spoke on being a house of prayer.  He reminded me that in order to get to this point, I must be like Jesus and pray RAW HONEST prayers.  Jesus is inviting me and you to come and tell Him all, withholding nothing.

He invites me to cast all my cares on Him.  Telling Him the good, the bad and the ugly.  Allow Him to see my heart, inviting me to replace my filth with His righteousness and giving me a greater level of freedom.

He invites me to come and tell Him that I really don’t want to forgive because the offense just seemed too great and the offender never said sorry.  RAW HONEST EMOTIONS.  He invites me to cry out and ask Him to help me go beyond my feelings and ask Him for the grace to walk in forgiveness as many times as it is needed!

He invites me to be honest, take off my church face, abandon my well-crafted speeches and tell Him that I feel doubt overtaking me. When I have been in the wilderness longer than I would like and I begin to wonder if He has forgotten about what He has promised.  He wants me to have raw conversations with Him about my doubts and then sit long enough to get His faith infused answer giving me the proper perspective to continue to believe!

He invites me to be honest and tell Him that my flesh loves the applauses of man making me sometimes more focused on pleasing them instead of pleasing Him.  He wants me to be honest and tell Him that I struggle to not think too much of myself.  It is then that He begins to show me how to be like Him, how to imitate His humility.  Jesus type of humility can never be fabricated, only in prayer can pride be put to death!

I officially resign from praying like a politician.  I want to be a house of prayer, flowing in the power of God.  Teach me Lord.  How about you?

 

 

 

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Repentance is the warm up before prayer

 

Most workout enthusiast encourage you to warm up before exercising because it is crucial to an effective workout.  It warms your muscles, increases blood flow to exercising muscles and the heart, which minimizes the risk of injury and increases your energy.  The same is true for prayer.  There are times we want to jump in COLD and our prayers feel like they are hitting the ceiling.  We know we have done wrong and we refuse to acknowledge it, we just want to tell God all we need from Him.   However, I have learned that REPENTACE melts the frost off our hearts causing the blood of Jesus to flow in our situation.  It is arrogant to think that we can just come into the presence of God expecting something without acknowledging that we have done wrong.  God is simply not pleased with arrogance.  He makes it quite clear that He resist the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).  True Repentance requires true humility.

Sometimes we say sorry because we don’t like the consequences of our actions, but would return to that sinful action in a heartbeat if there were no consequences attached; if we knew we would not be caught.   This is not true repentance.  Repentance is saying God I am sorry and I really mean it.  I regret what I have done and I truly want to change.  I want to turn from my sinful ways because I know it displeases you.  Repentance says I want to turn my back on sin and run forward into the arms of Jesus.  It is more than words, it is a shifting of the heart.  It is an invitation to Jesus to come in and make right all that is wrong.   Yes I prayed that initial prayer when I first came to Christ asking Him to forgive me of my sins, but that was not intended to be my only prayer of repentance.  As I go with Christ, His truth shines the light on the parts of me that need to change.  I have given up on trying to fix me because the list is long.   However when I repent, I am inviting Jesus to shower me with HIS grace to walk in victory. For His strength to turn away from the very thing that displeases Him.  It is an ongoing process, but one that brings great FREEDOM!

Is there something that you know you need to repent of so that your prayers will not be hindered?  Anger, jealousy, a bad attitude?   I encourage you to pour your heart out to Jesus and receive His forgiveness so that you can move forward in your prayers.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.  1 John 1:8-10 NLT

 

Keep Calm and Pray On

 

As you all know by now, I am expecting…great things from God.

In my first and only birthing class over 12 years ago, I learned that I should not let my emotions get the best of me when the pain from the contractions during delivery came.  It was recommended that I use a breathing pattern to help to keep me calm through the contractions. I did not understand why there was such a strong emphasis on staying focused and breathing until that faithful December morning over 11 years ago.  I had NEVER felt pain like that before, it was unreal.  The temptation was there to scream and totally lose it but I REMEMBERED!  I made up my own unorthodox breathing pattern when the excruciating pain from the contractions overwhelmed me.  The” breathing instead of screaming like a mad woman” approach did not cause the pain to go away but it helped to put me in a zone.  I knew that there was no going back, the baby had to be delivered.  The pain was a part of the package for life to come.  THE. PAIN. WAS. A. PART. OF. THE. PACKAGE. FOR. LIFE. TO. COME.  And so it is with life…

 

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Tyrone and I holding our first baby Naomi in 2003. Our 2nd day as parents, if we only knew what was ahead.

 

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Naomi meeting Joel for the first time in 2005.
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Naomi and Joel meeting their new sister Hannah in 2007.

 

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The older three hanging out with their new baby brother Elijah back in 2009.
The older 4 with baby Isaiah in 2011
The older 4 with baby Isaiah in 2011

 

 

Naomi's first time holding Faith. She was beyond thrilled!
The older five with our caboose, Faith Serenity in 2013

Many of my revelations come from my experiences as a wife and mother.

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God reveals so much to me in what may appear to be mundane.  But in my barefoot and pregnant, wiping noses, potty training, nursing, “I said no for the 10th time,”  “what do you want for dinner” seasons of life   I have come to get a greater revelation of Jesus.  Making the mundane magnificent. In life Jesus is teaching me not to get distracted by pain.  He is teaching me to keep calm and pray on.

The pain of waiting for an answer to prayer can cause you to lose it.

The pain of uncertainty and the realization that control is an illusion can cause you to lose it.

The pain from a negative diagnosis from the doctor can cause you to lose it.

The pain from too little money and too many bills can cause you to lose it.

The pain from lost dreams and disappointments can cause you to lose it.

The pain of life is inevitable. If you are not careful, you can be distracted by the pain.  You can forget that you are in labor and though the pain is great, something beautiful awaits you on the other end.  Do not get stuck in the middle of delivery and lose what God has promised.  Screaming and letting your emotions get the best of you can prove to be detrimental.  Today I encourage you to refocus, breathe in the goodness of God, and stand on His promises. Get in a zone and keep calm and pray on!  Prayer indeed birth great things!

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”  James 5:16 NLT