Gut-Honest Prayers
by Rachel Olsen

“The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”Psalm 6:9 (NIV)

Have you ever grown frustrated with God over situations in your life? Have you gone to Him and poured out those feelings in prayer?

If so, you’ll be able to relate to the prophet Habakkuk, who lived roughly 600 years before Christ. His book of the Bible begins with this complaint: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save me. Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?” (Hab.1:2-3, NIV).

God answered Habakkuk by telling him to be patient and to watch, that He will do amazing things and usher in justice – but only in His timing.

Passionate, honest, gut-level prayers have been recorded through out the Bible. Habakkuk wasn’t the only one to complain. Moses, Gideon, and Elijah all questioned God. Job even cursed the day God made him and said, “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 10:1, NIV).

In his anguish, Job accused God of afflicting people for no reason (Job 9:17), overwhelming them with misery (Job 9:18), and not caring about injustice (Job 9:22, 24). Job even wondered if maybe God was laughing at the pain of the innocent (Job 9:22). None of these accusations are accurate – far from it – but we can sometimes feel that way in times of severe suffering or testing. God knows our deepest thoughts and feelings, so it’s futile to think we can hide them from Him. Better to come clean with how we really feel, get it off our chest in prayer, and hopefully clear the way to hear and receive God’s reply or comfort.

I’ve complained to God in the past for allowing my loved ones to die or fall deep into sin, for allowing valuable things to be stolen from me, for allowing my reputation to be unfairly tarnished, for allowing physical suffering in my body, or for not allowing what I felt I deserved. My goal is to be a woman of faith who can take such things in stride with Him. But when I’m losing that stride, I’ve found the best thing I can do is honestly take these feelings to God where they can be traded for His perspective and His comforting assurance.

Though God does not always change my circumstances the way I want Him to, He can and does change my perspective on those circumstances – enabling me to endure them.

God listens when we complain about injustice. He understands when we feel shortchanged or opposed. Read through the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and you’ll be reminded of just how much Jesus can relate to undeserved opposition!

Be honest before God in prayer today. While maintaining a holy respect for Him and thanksgiving for His saving grace, pour out the good, the bad and the ugly of your feelings. As Habakkuk, Job and others discovered, God can handle our intense emotions and questions. He may not explains Himself fully to us – perhaps because we can’t fully understand – but He will flood us with His love when we come humbly and honestly before Him and pour out our heart.

Dear Lord, it is often hard for me to deal graciously with the difficult situations in my life. Help me to see them through Your eyes. Help me to endure, with grace, all that You allow into my life. Fill me with Your peace and love today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Character of God: Understanding His Heart for Us by Glynnis Whitwer

Do You Know Him?

Visit Rachel Olsen’s blog today and feel free to share your prayer request there.

Application Steps:
Read through one of the New Testament gospel books that records Jesus’ life, noticing all the times and ways that He was opposed, or let down by those around Him. Notice also how He responded.

Are you angry with God over what He’s allowed to happen to you, or a loved one?

Have you taken those feelings to Him honestly in prayer and asked for His perspective and comfort?

Are you willing to settle for the comfort of God in your situation, or are you only interested in having God change your situation to suit you?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)

Psalm 86:6, “Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD; hear my urgent cry.” (NLT)

© 2008 by Rachel Olsen. All rights reserved.


Blogger Sharon Sloan said...

Thank you, Rachel! He knows are hearts and hears our utterances, even when they are so raw and "gut-honest". I think all of us can relate to that!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I am I hope on the last leg of this race. I am living the worse thing I could imagine. I do not wish this on anyone. I find myself crying out to God even more these days. Wondering if he hears me. I have to keep saying to myself it has been six years. You can do it! One more year to go (holding on to the thought that God loves the #7). I am growing weaker in this fight. It was nice to wake up and read this devo this morning. I have been searching for some comfort in all of this. Hard to keep strong when you are abandoned by friends and family. Thank you for having these devotions for me to turn to when I wake up.

Blogger ♥Joy♥ said...

This is the first time that I have read this blog and visited Proverbs 31 Ministries and I have been truly blessed by it this morning. This was a right on time message for me and I just wanted to say Thank You! I will definitely be back again...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotion; it is truly just what I needed. Everyday over the past month I have found myself literally crying to God, oftentimes yelling at/to Him to please fix my situation; I have simply come to a place where I don't want to be hurt anymore. Many nights I find myself asking God if He even hears me or even cares that I am hurting; why has He brought something into my life again just to take it away and watch me break down again. This devotion reminds me that it is ok to question God but that I should always remember that He hasn't forgotten me and that He may not give me the answer that I want but that He will answer me. I realize now that I need to ask for God's comfort and understanding in this situation and trust that He knows what I need better than me. I sincerely hope that with this new perspective and a new prayer that maybe the pain will ease and God will grant me the comfort and peace to get back to my normal self. Thanks again!

Blogger Rachel Olsen said...

Sweet Jennifer - I just read your post above, and think you have just made a breakthrough. :)

I believe you are about to discover the truth of John 14:18 where Jesus declares He will not leave you comfortless.

To the others, know that I am praying for all your requests left here today and on my blog.

Sweet Blessings ~ Rachel

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for these reassuring words. I've realized that since I've committed my life to Jesus, all of my trials have been so severe that I'm brought to a place where I really have to cry out to Jesus. From these I've learnt to be truly open with the Lord, so I dont have to "pretend" that everything is ok when the reality is that I'm just tearing up inside.

With the current issues that I have, I've realized that I have absolutely no control over my life, and I'm at a place where I don't even know what to do, how my situation will change, or how I can even keep focussed so that these problems no longer rob me of my joy, wisdom or strength.

Nontheless, right now I'm at a place where I just have to be crying out to God for comfort, and by faith, trust God that He won't give me more than I can handle.

Blogger Unknown said...

Rejection from the world hurts.Thank you for this devotional.I have been dealing with this for a while. The Lord yanked on me to set my feet back on the path. I pray that I will resist the temptation to feel sorry for myself and for believing what the world says I am.

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