Prayer is not about getting the right words strung together in a correct formula in a perfect disposition of the heart. Prayer is conversation. Prayer is communication with God. Sometimes it looks a lot more like a triage unit than a steeple, and like desperation more than ebullient praise. God is someone we tell the truth about what is really going on in our lives. Prayer is not prayer when we just tell God what we think he wants to hear.
Jeremiah prayed, and much of it was lament, complaint, and raw feeling. We hear his cry to God, not worrying about whether it is appropriate language or not. So, we get prayer phrases like: “We are worn out and can find no rest.” “Our hearts are sad.” “We are doomed.” “We feel sick all over and can’t even see straight.” “Why have you forgotten us for so long?” “Do you despise us so much that you don’t want us?” Jeremiah was not concerned about how he sounded, and not afraid to express his real thoughts.
Every thought or feeling is a valid entry into prayer. It is of utmost importance that we pray what is actually inside of us and not what we believe God would like to see in us. God doesn’t like pretense and posturing; he wants the real us. Plastic words and phony speeches are an affront to him. We need to pray precisely what is on our minds and hearts – unfiltered if need be. It’s okay. God is most certainly big enough to handle it. No matter the headache or the heartache, we only need to pray without concern for perfection.
Gracious God, sometimes I feel like I have to have it all together to even speak to you. But you already know my heart better than I know it myself. Forgive my constant hiding from you, and accept my heartfelt prayer to you for grace and help! Amen.