Terry and I attend a couple of small groups that are part of our church outreach. One we lead based on the book “Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker. The other is one in which there are four couples each who have been married over fifty years. The leader of that group is a man who is passionate about prayer. It is his wish that every believer learns the importance and power of prayer. He calls himself a “beggar for prayer.” In that group, we have been using “The 40 days of Prayer” written by Rick Warren as the focus of study.
Recipes for How to Pray
At our last study, one of the precious ladies in our group asked questions about praying the right way. Our leader is well versed in the many different acrostics used to help people to understand the basics of prayer and what to consider as parts of your prayer. You may know some like the following:
- ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication
- PRAY – Praise, Repent, Ask, and Yield
- PRAY – Persistently, Regularly, Ardently, and Yearningly
As she was reminded of one style, she still was distressed by whether or not she was doing it right. She was looking for something to reassure and quiet her spirit.
Where the Struggle Lay
What struck me was how her Relational self had throughout her life sought to do things right in so many areas of her life. That Relational identity was how she performed to be assured of acceptance and love. This Relational part of her self structure was now thinking about what was necessary to pray right to be assured that God would hear her prayers and answer. Her anguish was obvious in her voice, her body language, and her words. Rehearsing the list did not bring her peace. It only stirred more questions.
Speaking to One’s Core Being
When I see a person in that state of anguish, I am stirred reach out and to speak to the individual’s Core being. The thoughts that came to me were first a reassurance by speaking to the nature of God. God is a God of love and grace. What that means is in God’s unconditional love He looks upon our Core being with tenderness and acceptance. He knows our limitations. He knows that in our humanity we are broken. So He relates to us in the reality of that brokenness. He does not scold or punish us for our failings. Even when we continually fall short of the way we go about trying to relate to Him. Our person, not our performance is priority to Him. In that attitude is where we find the evidence of His grace. He favors us just for who we are, as we are, when we seek Him. He doesn’t wait until we get it right before He shows His love or favor to us.
God created you in His image. He knew you by name at conception. He was, is, and will be extending His love and grace to you and me in our Core being. As a result of that which He offers you and me in our Core being, in spite of the faulty thinking held by our Relational selves. Through His love and grace, you and I are transformed. Those flawed thinking patterns get corrected. Our Core being becomes more alive and energized by His indwelling Spirit.
Keep It Simple Sweetheart!
Behind the woman’s questions about prayer is an obvious desire from her Core self to please God. And we know from the author of Hebrews that simple Core faith is what pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6) So our Core self can please God by simply talking with Him, which by the way is all that prayer is. Core expression just “is.” We just do and say what our heart desires, which is to communicate with Him. How isn’t important,
My last words to the lady from our group was, “Rather than being concerned if you are doing it the right way, just do it.”
The Payoff Is…
The Heavenly Father desires you and me to have a relationship with Him. He wants that based on our heart’s desire to please Him, not based on a set of behaviors which are correct, but based on a heart’s desire. The Core desire from one’s heart to have a relationship with God may be clumsily expressed t first. The words you say may be halting, bumbling expressions. But in Heaven, I see Jehovah God, our Creator smiling on you and then turning to the angels around His throne and saying to them, “Wow! How wonderful to hear her speak.”
Scripture tells us that no matter how stinky we feel our performance may be, to talk to Him sends to the throne of God from our words an offering that is a sweet smelling aroma.
Reader, I encourage you think about this mindfully from your Core being and just “Do It!”
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