‘Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.’ Psalm 86.6
Honesty in prayer is wonderful; how incredible to be able to pour out our hearts to God, either in desperation or adoration. It is only when we are honest that it is really us who are praying, and not just our facades or masks.
There are two sides to being honest. Psalm 86 is the prayer of a man in trouble, and with honesty he lifts up his requests to God. However, he also acknowledges the other side of honesty – facing up to the nature of God revealed in the Bible. Alongside his own needs, the psalmist lifts up the wonder of God, extolling the truth about him and reminding himself of God’s true nature – forgiving, good, abounding in love, faithful, loving, compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, merciful and strong. ‘For you are great and do marvellous deeds’, he exclaims in verse 10.
As you pray, perhaps especially in times of need, begin by extolling the nature of God; worshipping him for his wonder, goodness, love and forgiveness. The reason for this is not to butter God up so that he will listen to your prayers more favourably, but so that you worship with honesty and integrity; acknowledging the truth about who God is, as well as the truth about your own circumstances.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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