I love the church. even with all of its problems. I pray to be renewed as I experience Jesus more in my life. I find that praying for myself is an opportunity for me to bring something new of Him into my church life. This might be the very way for a diseased church to be healed.
In this way he shall perform the ritual of purification for the house, and it will be ritually clean. – Leviticus 14:53b GNT
The more I experience Christ, the more I have to offer to a church that needs healing. I believe we have seen churches try to heal through discussions, arguments and debates but they seem to end up with the church more in trouble. As I experience newness in Christ, I can bring that to the church so that they too can be healed and move forward in Christ.
In my prayer of lament, frustrated and hurt, all I can do is pray. When I am criticized or accused of doing wrong, I cry out to God in hope. I like David’s prayer and the way he begins it.
Listen, O Lord, to my plea for justice;
pay attention to my cry for help!
Listen to my honest prayer. – Psalm 17:1 GNT
David pleas to God, seeking His attention. He does so because he trusts God. God is not fooled by what I say and shares little concern for popular consensus or opinion. God is a God of truth.
I know that it is possible for me to think that my cause is just when it is not. I cannot automatically apply these words of David to myself. Yet I can look at my cause as impartially and dispassionately as possible (a very hard thing to do), looking as best I can from the perspective of the others and be more concerned with what is truly just than simply what favours me. Unfortunately, the unhealthier I am the more I might blame myself.
“A cry is our earliest utterance, and in many ways the most natural of human sounds; if our prayer should like the infant’s cry be more natural than intelligent, and more earnest than elegant, it will be none the less eloquent with God. There is a mighty power in a child’s cry to prevail with a parent’s heart.” – Spurgeon
So I desire to pray as honestly as I can – I am not deceived that I deserve my problem and I do not withhold facts even if they seem to undermine my cause. I come to God with some confidence because of my tested conscience.
“They have Jacob’s voice, but Esau’s hands; they profess like saints, but practise like Satans; they have their long prayers, but short prayings.” – Bales, cited by Spurgeon
I know that God is not bound to hear or even honour me if I neglect His word. Before I even speak with Him, I must humbly and attentively be listening to His word or else my prayer is not honest, it will be repulsive to God.
If you do not obey the law, God will find your prayers too hateful to hear. – Proverbs 28:9 GNT
“The prayer certainly will not be a proper prayer; someone who refuses to obey God will not pray according to God’s will—he will pray for some physical thing, perhaps even making demands on God.” – Ross
The first petition is that God’s name be hallowed [ Matthew 6:9]; the need for it is associated with our great shame. For what is more unworthy than for God’s glory to be obscured partly by our ungratefulness, partly by our ill will, and so far as lies in our power, destroyed by our presumption and insane impudence? Though all ungodly men should break out with their sacrilegious license, the holiness of God’s name still shines…we should wish God to have the honor he deserves; men should never speak or think of him without the highest reverence. To this is opposed the profanity that has always been too common and even today is abroad in the world. Hence the need of this petition, which ought to have been superfluous if even a little godliness existed among us. – Calvin