Fearfully Wonderfully Me

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Category: Prayer (page 1 of 3)

3 Myths About Prayer (And How to Pray Authentically)

Jesus, I need You right now. How many times have I whispered these words–or sobbed them–in desperation.

When nothing else works, and all of my strength is used up, I finally let down my defenses and say the simple words. I let God in.

But that’s the thing about prayer that most people don’t understand. Even I didn’t understand for the longest time. Prayer is not a one-way request line to heaven, but an intimate conversation with God.

Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s silly. But it’s always real and always raw.

Of course, we must unlearn a lot of what culture and other Christians have taught us about prayer in order to fully dive into these real conversations with Jesus. Read on to learn 3 myths about prayer, and how you can pray boldly and authentically.

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3 Myths About Prayer and How to Pray Authentically

Myth #1: Prayer Needs to Sound Holy

You know holy prayers. The ones that sound all reverent, tip-toeing around raw human emotions that are a little undignified or ugly.

The one thing we must understand to combat the lie of holy prayers is that holiness is not something we can attain by ourselves. If we could, then Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross would be a wasted effort.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)

Let me tell you this, lovely one. The death of our beautiful Savior was not in vain. And when we choose to give our lives to Christ, we are giving up our own false sense of holiness for His true holiness.

So if our prayers don’t need to sound holy, what should they sound like?

The opposite of a holy front is vulnerability. God doesn’t want what sounds good or proper, He wants what’s in your heart. The pain, the fear, the anger, the joy. All of it. Of course we should still view God with reverence, but we can worship God’s holiness and still be vulnerable.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:21-23 NIV)

The author of this Psalm isn’t pretending, nor is he holding back. Real vulnerability is humility. It’s trusting God enough to surrender our feelings, and in return, let Him fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Myth #2: Prayer Needs to Be Long

Have you ever been in a prayer circle with someone who takes forever to pray? Of course, they might just have a lot on their heart, and that’s cool. But I’ve noticed that when someone around me prays long and intricate prayers, I want to copy them.

God isn’t impressed by the length of our prayers. Longer prayers aren’t more attention getting, nor do they grant us more favor.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)

Our prayers do not need to be loud and showy in order to get God’s attention. When it comes to prayer, we as Christians can boldly approach God and ask Him anything. He hears us, and He knows just what we need.

Instead of longer prayers, we need bolder prayers. If we have the confidence that God is listening and is always there to help us, then we are empowered to pray boldly and simply. 

Myth #3: Prayer Needs to Be Repetitive

I know I’ve been here. My anxiety-prone mind loves repeating prayers–just to be sure God hears me. As if repeating a specific prayer will make things go my way.

But we know prayer doesn’t work like that. God already knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2) and is not impressed by a lot of fancy words.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NKJV)

God is a good Father whom we can trust. Our repetitive prayers can be a sign that we don’t trust Him to do what is right in our lives.

This doesn’t mean we can’t ever repeat a prayer. In fact, the Bible tells us to be persistent in prayer. The difference is in our level of trust.

When we don’t have faith that God will come through for us, we repeat our prayers out of fear. However, persistent prayer can be a reminder of how faithful our Heavenly Father is.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Prayer looks different for everyone, and there is no correct length or specific words to say in order for God to hear us. True prayer is a conversation with Jesus. It is pouring your heart out and then waiting in God’s presence. It is vulnerable, bold, and persistent.

Authentic prayer is when our heart’s desire is to connect with the heart of God.


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Why Prayer is Not a Waste of Time

On what should’ve been a quiet, peaceful Sunday morning, our nation was rattled by the tragic news of a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Over two dozen are dead and many have been injured.

In the face of such tragedy, many of us rally together in prayer and peaceful vigils. However, some people on social media are saying that prayers are useless. They don’t do anything to help, and therefore, a waste of time.

As a Christian who believes deeply in the power of prayer, these statements really made me pause to think. If you’re on the fence about prayer, or are just worn down by all of the tragedies in our nation, then this post is for you.

A New Perspective

There are things in this world we just don’t understand. We live in a world where bad things happen and injustice seems to be the norm.

So where’s God in all of this? Why isn’t He answering our prayers?

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

You see, Jesus never promised His followers an easy life with no problems or disasters. On the contrary, there is a target on every Christian’s back solely based on their devotion to God.

Our perspective on life is wrong. We are only human beings restricted by the confines of time and space. God sees the whole picture–from beginning to end–and He has promised us a victorious ending (Revelation 21).

Sin is the root cause of the evil in this world, and it is the reason people are filled with anger, hatred, and violence. This is more than just a political or cultural issue–it’s a spiritual one.

The only cure for sin is Jesus, and our pursuit should be the freedom of His saving grace.

Prayer in Action

People want action in times of crisis. We want a sense of control in turbulent times. However, one must not discount the power and motivation of prayer. Prayer is an action of love and faith.

If we pray for those in need, we are uniting with them both mentally and spiritually. We are sacrificing time and energy to focus our hearts on our neighbors.

That’s action.

But the Bible tells us not to stop at prayer. Rather, we should carry our faith into loving deeds in the physical realm as well.

You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:22 NIV)

When we pray for others, we take the center of our hearts off of ourselves. This acts as a catalyst for real change in both our lives and the lives of those around us.

I know of Christians who send their prayers on social media, but many of these saints also give money and sacrifice time to help disaster relief organizations.

When we pray, God transforms our hearts into vessels of compassion and action.

Prayer in compassion and action

A Spiritual Battle

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

The visible world around us if often distracting and terrifying. However, it is only temporary. Our true battle isn’t with social or political issues (although they shouldn’t be ignored).

There is a spiritual war being waged against God’s sons and daughters right now. The devil knows that Jesus has won, and that He is coming to reign on earth soon (Matthew 24). This is causing the enemy to attack God’s children like never before, in the hopes of preventing one more soul from being saved.

Remember, we don’t have the whole perspective. We can’t see into eternity or into the battles that are taking place in the heavenly realms. I don’t have all the answers for life’s tragedies, but I do know this:

God sees our struggles and He hears our prayers. Jesus loves us, and can turn any situation–no matter how tragic–into a message of redemption and salvation. 

Don’t stop praying, lovely one. It could be the very action that saves someone’s soul.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16 NIV)

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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On the Edge

 

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I’m on the edge,

My feet hanging off as I stare down

Into the pit.

My heart sinks,

Someone get me out of here.

There are vultures surrounding,

Waiting for my defeat.

There are ropes binding

My hands behind my back.

Every thought is a dagger

Piercing through my soul.

 

I’m on the edge Lord,

Standing here as You call me,

As You beckon me to dive

Into life.

I take a deep breath and

Fall forward.

Suddenly the pit becomes my platform

As the vultures fly away.

The ropes are unraveling,

My thoughts shatter,

As You begin to burn within me.

 

I’m on the edge,

And it has never felt so freeing.

As I leap through the sky,

You give me wings.

As the fiery darts target me,

You shield me with Your promises.

 

You revive my soul

You give me life

And it all starts with meeting You on

The edge of something new.

 

Written by Emily Smith at fearfullywonderfullyme.com, 2016 ©


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For My Grandma~A Guest Post by Dainty M

Wasted

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Another day that feels

Wasted.

As I lie awake, heart racing,
Trying to put my pieces back together
So I don’t feel

Broken.

I fell today
For the lies of another empty song.

I lost today
In the front lines of my mind.

My body is tired,
Ravaged by distress.

My soul is tired,
Weighed down by memories
That take me to melancholy lane.

All the things I’ve wanted to do,
But never could

Wasted.

I can see the dream stealers,
Creeping in the middle of the night.
Making me forget why
I Chose to move forward.

You say Your yoke is easy
But this burden I have has tied me

Down.

I can’t get up and face today–
Not in my own strength.

I know that with You I’m anything but

Hopeless.

So I’ll surrender to
The only Love
That gives without taking.

The only peace
That leaves no room for fear.

Only this way can I rise
And feel my brokeness,
Being mended by Your strong hands,
So I can glisten in the sun.

Only this way can I gain
What the enemy took away.

Only this way can I take today,
And make it beautiful.

Because of You
No tear
No shout
No fear
No joy
No love is

Wasted.

–Written by Emily Smith © at fearfullywonderfullyme.com

Thanks for reading! Please comment with your thoughts, and God bless you.
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