Prayer, Plain and Simple

I don’t know myself nearly as well as I suppose. I don’t really know my own motives, or the roots of my thoughts and actions. I know that I don’t know… That much is all I’m confident to say.

A friend took me to task this week for something I said. He claimed that a few words of mine betrayed something dark in my heart, something t that does not reflect Jesus’ heart. He’s right of course that “from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Those are Jesus’ words, not his. Maybe he’s right then…

My instinctive reaction to challenge and criticism is defense. I immediately shift into justification mode, and I admit here that when he called me on the carpet I did fire up to defend myself. And even now I still believe I am/was right. But I’ve learned over the years – I’m 50 now – that in most criticism there is at least a nugget of truth, as painful as that is to consider. Maybe I’m not as right as my emotional defense suggests. Maybe…

So, I’m taking my friend’s challenge to task today. I’m taking time asking God to dig into me and to follow this surface evidence – the words my friend found offensive – down to the roots of my heart. I’m not qualified to do this excavation myself. I’m not an objective judge of my own intent. Instead, I’m inviting God to examine me and to expose and then purge any unholy base in my heart.

I’ve set other things aside today. Time away is really the only way to allow this kind of excavation of my spirit by God’s Spirit. I’m sitting now at a retreat center not far from my home. I’ll spend the day here, journaling as I pray and interact with God on these issues of my soul.

I’ll be posting portions of my journal entries as the day progresses. I don’t suppose this will be of much interest, but it is for me a kind of accountability. I reserve the right to edit and withhold anything related to people’s names and intimate specifics, but I do intend to follow out this repentance process in the light of this public platform. John wrote, “If we walk in the light as he is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his son cleanses us from all sin.”  

Here’s to the light…

“God, search my heart… See if there is anything offensive in me…”

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