Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


Bare Naked Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I’m feeling vulnerable in my relationship with God today. I began by asking him for wisdom about our family finances, which – with two kids in college and a couple boys eating us out of house and home – are looking a bit depleted. So I’m praying for wisdom and for blessing. I’m asking God to provide. Well and good. He promises to do just that.

 

But the dangerous thing is, as I ask for answers, God starts digging deeper into my soul, uprooting underlying issues like my fear of failure and my fear that I can’t provide for my family. Once I dare to get honest in prayer, God ups the ante and goes even deeper, to the real issues.

 

Prayer is dangerous. I start in and God ends up stripping me down to basics. That’s happening to me right now. Here’s an excerpt from my book, “Six Prayers God Always Answers” that talks about the vulnerable dangers of prayer.   

Like sexual intimacy, sometimes prayer means we get naked. We reveal parts of ourselves that no one else has ever seen. The only reason we can do this is not that the lights are turned off, but because there is trust.

 

The best abstinence program for a teenage girl is the fear of what her boyfriend will tell his friends about what he saw and what they did. But couples celebrating silver or golden anniversaries don’t worry for a minute that their partner will share intimate details of their sex life because there is trust that comes from commitment and time spent together.

 

God doesn’t ask us to undress in front of him and then, in the middle of the night, get up and share the details with his buddies–he doesn’t abandon us even when we’ve shown him everything. Prayer, like comfortable conversation, is a safe place to be vulnerable. And whether or not we get enough A and C before our T or S–God will still be there in the morning.

God is safe, but prayer is dangerous to our “feeling” of safety. God will lay us bare as we lay bare our soul. It’s really the only way to living up to our destiny. Getting honest with God culminates with God being honest with us about ourselves and about his high calling for our eternal destiny.

 



  • Your Name

    How true…you verbalized exactly the way I feel. My auto insurance went up 250% due to some tickets and accidents I have had the last 3 years…all related to other issues in my life that my poor driving reflected. The prior 23 years I had not so much as a traffic ticket. Insurance companies only care about the last 3 years. They do not care if your Mother was dying, or you were not actually at fault (Boulevard rule came into play…he struck me but I was on the side street so he was not at fault…I was)in the accident, or that the Police Officer did not see you stop at the Stop Sign etc. So I pray about the impact on my monthly finances and how it will affect myself and others in my life and my fears rise up out of the depths….fear of being hounded by debt collectors like when I was young, fear that my wife will take it personal that we will have to cut back , fear that once again I will have to defer doing good things in life foe my family and for myself…most of all fear that I am realy a loser, a lame, not worth crap, will never change and on and on…those deep deep fears that I cannot handle life which start to lead me to the logical conclusion….If you cannot handle life than why live?

  • http://www.dunwnderinpress.org Robert Landbeck

    I would suggest that mankind is not yet ‘naked’ in its honesty either with God and particularly with itself. We spend most of our existence building up a sense of cultural identity which often includes a religious element. But this veil of ‘respectability’ self evidently does not contain the moral potential to secure the future. But a greater honesty is slowing being forced upon us by the failure of civilization to resolve the most pressing problem facing ourselves and the earth itself. With Democracy virtually dead in the water as a model or vehicle for progress, we will need a greater honesty to confront a darkness within ourselves as a species, with all the limitations that includes. If God is true, that is when we may discover a transcendence to an eternal destiny worthy of his name.

  • Mark Herringshaw

    Robert, I believe you are right. In an earlier post I talked about our human condition as “Doomed to Failure.” All our human strategies are complicated by chaos and the laws of unintended consequences. We try creating “Fair Trade Coffee” as a means of delivering fair compensation to local producers of product. The the results are not all good – This effort is now flooding the market with too much coffee driving down prices in other areas. Our best intentions fail. So yes, we have be heart level honest with God and allow him to be heart level honest with us. Without God we fail. He build the world this way. Life is a set up for failure and a forced experience to bring us to relationship with our Creator. Thanks for your prudent and articulate thoughts!

  • Mark Herringshaw

    I see here that your life situations have boxed you in to a corner of fear and anxiety. God doesn’t create these problems. And God is there and close to those of us who come to the point of desperation. It’s only when we hit bottom that we break the illusion that we actually CAN succeed. I believe that at the moment you might be actually at the point of greatest clarity and sanity. You know you can’t make it on your own. But know this: YOU can make it with God. With God as your life partner you together can find your destiny and the path intended for you.
    Let me encourage you to seek personal help with this. Wherever you live, there are people around you who can help you walk out of this pit. Reach out there as you have reached out here. This medium is good for an initial feedback, but of course we’re limited here. Let me recommend that your take the same initiative you’ve taken here to write to move next and reach out to a church or faith community or a Christian counseling group. There IS and ANSWER. I’ve walked with people in and through the darkest of places. And God is LIGHT and in him there is NO DARKNESS!

  • Uninformed

    “get enough A and C before our T or S” Huh? Sorry, I don’t get it.

  • Scott Weier

    I read your book Mark on hearing God speak, and incorporating it with what you wrote today in the blog, and relating it to my life, I know why I never heard God speak to me for 40+ of my 44 years. I was to deep into myself and my convictions of right and wrong. Once all obstacles were removed from me where I had nothing left to lean on except God, he stripped me naked as well. There were things I did that in hind site cannot believe I did, things that society accepts and even makes you a stud because you did them. Things completely forgotten about on my end, but brought front and center by God.
    When he brings them front and center we have a choice to listen to these things as God starts to speak to us or tune them and God out. If we choose the second easier way out, you loose. It is easier short term because you do not have to see how bad of a man or woman you really are, and then you become a fake Christian. And we have to many fake Christians in this world, ones that do not want to see the truth of God, but instead live in their own truth of right and wrong.
    This is the direction of our country and thus why we have the problems in this country and world. It seems the end of times are coming very quickly on us, something that cannot be stopped, but through prayer of the “bare naked type” can prolong it and change the world for the better for all mankind.
    So what to do going forward? Blogs like this are good, because we have to tell the good news. Yes it is not fun to really learn what kind of person you are, but once all the yuk is out of you and you can clearly hear God speak to you, and you live in his truth, then all the stuff going on around you matters none. Yes the things of the world anger you because they are wrong, but it does not effect your world “Kingdom” because your Kingdom is God’s Kingdom and you are not of this world. Nothing can touch you that has not been ordained by God, which no matter how bad it gets, will be used to Glorify God through your life, and for those that endure, great blessings! So lead people to the truth, and help them understand why they want to listen to the little voice that is not so pleasant to listen to, so they to can make a difference and come to the Kingdom! Find the truth in your own life, from and through God and not another person and their views on what Christianity is suppose to be.

  • Your Name

    joel you inspire me.im a girl and im only 10,but i want to be just like you.i want to inspire people and i want to help people.you tought me how to trust myself throw probloms.i am thanking you.i pray evey night about people i love.and people who inspire me.and you are one of them so i hope you the best in life.
    oh by the way i have been making speaches.heres one.beliving yourself is big in life,but you cant do it alone.you
    know you will always have god with you throw anything.in the name of the lord.we pray everynight for hope in this world.thats just half but i think its good.thanks again

  • Mark Herringshaw

    Scott, great to hear from you! Add more!
    I think you nail the point: we often don’t hear God speak to us because we’re “too into ourselves.” When we see the encounter as all about us, like watching and listening to ourselves talk to someone, we are not then focused on the OTHER but rather on ourselves addressing them. A Jewish writer named Martin Buber talks about this in “I and Thou.” He says that true love sees the other person as real and objective and not a subjective experience we are having. This works with God too. When we see God as the OTHER, and relate with HIM and not with our perceptions of him, then we can begin to have real relationship.
    I think I’ll do a post about this….

  • Mark Herringshaw

    Uninformed… Good catch! My apologies. This is a reference to a preceding paragraph in the book that I didn’t include in this quote. There’s a common acronym for teaching prayer called “A.C.T.S” – adoration, confession, thanks, supplication. The idea is to follow this flow in this order. The point on the quote in the post is that while these kinds of patterns can help us learn the mechanisms of prayer, what God is really after is our intimacy, whether or not we say things in the right way and in the right order. Again, thanks for catching this. I see that it didn’t make sense outside of the context! Keep me honest!

  • jen

    I’m in a crisis right now, my 2 mos. old baby girl is in hospital, shes been here in the hospital over 2 mos. We have been lodging here because we live an hour away. She is getting better, but she still is not able to feed by mouth, because she was born with a hole in the heart & they had to patch the hole up. I am in crisis right now because my marriege is falling apart, & now I feel that God has been not helping me on anything he is out to get me! Right now the state wants to take my baby girl away from me all because she is fragile. I just need a lot of prayers because I know I am weak I tried to get better but everytime I get better the Devil is out to ruin it for me. I ask where is God & what is God doing while the world is suffering? My car broke down when I was pregnant, my daughter was born premature. I feel strongly that the hospital & the state is blaming it all on me. When the facts is, they ran tests, no one knows what happened, that I had nothing to do with it. I feel right now discriminated & tooken advantage of. -J.

  • Your Name

    I need to know right now, what is God & where is God right now, while the world is suffering? I do pray other people & for my marriege to be strong like it used to be. But now my marriege is falling apart. I worked hard for a marriege & I have two children one is not living with me right now, he is 8. One is in the hospital fighting for her life. She is getting better, but she cannot feed by the mouth. She was born premature with a hole in the heart, but they have repaired that, which is good, but my car broke down when I was pregnant with my 2 mos. old. Because in the past people has done me wrong, I feel ashamed & not being able to trust anyone nor the people that I care about, I cannot even trust myself anymore. I need to know how to listen to God when he’s speaking to me, what does he do to help his children? I thank him all the time for him bringing his son to wash away our sins. Y does people take advantage of that? Y does the Devil ruin people? -please help me to learn how to know when God is talking to me.-jen

  • http://www.pandorasukpandora.co.uk pandora

    You had some nice points here. I done a research on the topic and got most peoples will agree with you

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lewis
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