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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement for Today - Oct. 8, 2008

  • 2008 Oct 08
  • COMMENTS

October 8, 2008

 

Gut-Honest Prayers

Rachel Olsen

 

The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”

Psalm 6:9 (NIV)

         

Devotion:

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.

 

Reflections: 

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.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.proverbs31.org

 

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