Are you at a point in life where your thoughts or burdens have created a heavy heart that’s weighing you down … and you’re not sure what to do next?
Your solution to your problem(s) might be twofold.
**** Psalm 145:18 ****
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
1. You Have to Pray
When we were children learning how to pray, we memorized words to say at mealtime and bedtime. As we grew older, we may have hung onto those contrite habits and confused them for conversations with God.
When was the last time you sat down and really reflected on the things going on in your life and then took them individually to God in prayer? Then, you picked up the Bible daily and looked in it for answers.
Until recently, my answer was 🥁… never.
Sure, most nights before I closed my eyes I would haphazardly thank God for the day or ask Him to give me peace or wisdom, but I never got specific.
I kicked off this year with a prayer journal (see image in comments).
Each Sunday or Monday I start the week off reflecting on a Bible verse. I study its origin. I study other sermons and commentary on it. I reflect on how it has impacted others, and I jot down the words I read that spoke most to me.
Then I spend the rest of the week listing the things I am thankful for, the things on my mind, the prayer requests I have for myself and others. Finally, I end the week looking back and reflecting on the prayers God has answered (both realistically and through His silence) recently and throughout my life.
God wants us to know it’s okay to come to Him with our real problems. He wants us to admit our flaws. He wants us to share the challenges and struggles of our hearts.
Through the imperfect storms of life, God is growing us. He is looking for us to worship Him during those moments, the same as we worship Him when our lives seem full of sunshine. But…
2. You Have to Be Honest
Depending on which version of Psalm 145:18 you read, “truth” is also described as “integrity” or “sincerity”.
When we go to God in prayer, we have to be sincere. Unlike the lady at the drive thru window who accepts your “Fine” answer to the question, “How are you today?”, God already knows you’re not. But he needs you to own it.
He knows you’re a sinner. We all are.
He knows your transgressions. We all make them.
He knows your hurt from sin. We all have it.
He knows He can help make you whole when you really turn to Him for help with a heart that is not afraid to share the entire truth.
Yet you probably don’t. You’ve probably become so good at sugarcoating your reality, hiding your sin, basking in pride, allowing anger to have a stronghold on your reactions, or accepting your self-righteousness, that you don’t know how to truly seek forgiveness and grow to become more Christlike.
You may have even fallen guilty a time or two of making a deal with God that you had no intention of keeping. “God, if you will just do X, then I promise I won’t do Y anymore.”
God isn’t a deal maker, but he is a chain breaker.
He wants you to take off the rose colored glasses you’ve used to view your world and instead self reflect on who you are today and how He can help you with the burdens you are carrying so that you can live the purpose He created you to live.
If you still view your troubles and burdens as bad fortune….
If you are allowing anxiety to control your mind and heart…
If you feel you’ve reached a dead end in life because every time something good happens, it seems to be quickly interrupted by something bad…
Chances are you haven’t been truthful in your relationship with God … both to yourself and to Him. Because the truth of what is holding you captive to those things lies in the truth you are still harboring alone or the sin you are still struggling to let go of.
So make the time to find the root causes of your unhappiness, to reflect on your sin, and to honestly take it all to God in prayer. He is near to all who call on him in truth.