Too often you and I look at prayer as if it were really good room service. When we pray, we expect immediate results, results in our favor. Biblical prayer though is much more like an ongoing meaningful conversation between two friends who are deeply vested in each other.
This truth is clearly elucidated in the early chapters of the book of Jeremiah. Instead of reading about a Godly man who prays and always gets his way, we read about a real man with real frustrations. He expresses those concerns openly. In a sense, he argues with God. And its ok.
Look at how he expresses his hurts: “My sorrow is beyond healing. I am broken. I mourn. I was like a gentle lamb led to slaughter. I want to plead my case. Woe that I was even born. Listen to me. Every time I speak, I cry. I am weary.”
No wonder he is known as the “weeping prophet.”
Jeremiah was lonely. He was expressly forbidden to marry (16:2). He served alone for more than 40 years. He hurt physically and he ached for the people of Israel. He was rejected and his message only brought ridicule. Ultimately he died as a captive in Egypt. Tradition says he was stoned to death. His was a tough life of service to the Lord.
He became angry with God. Jeremiah 20:7 might be translated, “You seduced me, God and I let you. You seized and overcame me. You lured me by enticing words, then you seized me by force and made me submit to your will.”
This is honest stuff. It is a real expression of his pain and frustration.
Too often you and I tend to act like we never feel this kind of despair. It is a lie, but we feel like “good Christians” ought not to feel this way or at least ought not to express their frustration this way. Based on the pattern we can see in Jeremiah’s life, this is bunk!
Maybe this week would be a good time for all of us to make sure our communication with the Lord is open and honest. Obviously he already knows our hearts. So why do we try to hide our concerns. Instead let’s sit down in calm, serious prayer and express the issues rolling around in our heads. Let’s talk respectfully but honestly.
If you are in a season of despair-say so. Seek His grace and peace. If you are in a season of loneness-express your hurt. Seek His presence. If you are in a season of hassle-slow down and outline what’s driving you crazy. Seek His input on what to eliminate. If you are in physical or emotional pain-describe it and seek the “balm of Gilead.” His grace is indeed sufficient.
Jeremiah spoke openly in his relationship with the Lord and so can we.
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel