Quotes: Honest Prayers

Freedom by Zenos Frudakis

Psalm 15:1-2 NRSV
O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly,
and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart.

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom. – Thomas Jefferson

Walter Brueggemann said: “Churches should be the most honest place in town, not the happiest place in town.” Maybe we have lost the “art of lament,” where complaining to God is part of the deal. Maybe, rather than playing church and make-believe, a vital dimension of the spiritual journey is giving God an earful now and then. Maybe God can handle it. Maybe God likes it, because it means we are being real and not fake. Maybe if you’re angry with God now and then, you’re normal. Maybe that’s part of being the people of God. – Peter Enns, When God is Unfaithful

Dare to be honest when you speak with God: allow your feelings and emotions to find expression. You do not have to be politically or theologically correct; God is big enough to understand where you come from and why you say certain things. … Be quiet and listen, trusting that your prayer is heard. Being in the presence of God in open conversation is God’s gift to you. – Wessel Bentley, Praying Through a Child’s Illness

Psalm 32:5 NRSV
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Immorality is almost always “kept secret”—which is the clearest evidence that we knew it was wrong in the first place. Secrecy is delayed confession that we have sinned. It only reveals what’s been there all along. – Steve Harper, Shepherd’s Care: Morality

I spent the first half of my life in the dark. Hiding parts of my self that I thought were too horrible to let anyone see. Hiding and pretending. This hiding and pretending made me very, very sick. Almost dead- sick. Then I decided that there is nothing shameful about being human. That we are each broken and each beautiful, and that we really do have similar longings, feelings, traumas, flaws, gifts, fears and secrets. And I learned that we stay as sick as our secrets. So I turned my insides out and I started writing. And my truth started setting others free to share their truths. And with that, I did my little part to help the world be free-er. That’s what I do here. I do my part.
– Glennon Melton, There will be no eclipse

1 John 1:9 NRSV
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Often prayer begins as a longing in the heart, a longing for love, a longing for connection, a longing to make contact with a Power greater than ourselves. Sometimes it begins as a desperate need for help, peace, strength, or comfort. Other times prayer’s beginning is a deep hope for others — an ache for suffering to stop, for the earth’s healing, for care of the poor. Sometimes prayer begins in fear. We reach out for something to save us, to protect us, to let us know that we’ll be OK. Sometimes prayer feels like a longing that’s been met, like a deep spring of peace welling up within our hearts, spilling over and filling us with gratitude and love.
– Dorothy C. Bass and Don C. Richter, Way to Live

If we want to go on a journey of transformation, we need to get honest. We take off our halos and say, “God I need you. I bring my prejudice before you, my racism. I bring my addictions, my greed, my need to have more. I bring my fear of not living up to others’ expectations that keeps me stuck in pretense.” We bring it all before Jesus and ask him to heal us, liberate us, transform us. We can never shock God. And the more honest we are, the deeper our experience of God’s love. “Just as I am, without one plea.”
– Trevor Hudson and Stephen D. Bryant,
The Way of Transforming Discipleship Participant’s Book

“Declare it all” was the advice of the desert fathers, those radical early Christians who took with great seriousness Jesus’ challenge to transform the heart. Declare it all – every thought, every feeling, every cruel intention, every ignoble desire and holy aspiration. Don’t be afraid to present anything to God as it comes into awareness, because you are beheld by a comprehending, compassionate love that knows how to heal your distempers. Everything becomes grist for the mill in spiritual growth, even the hells into which we wander. Some elements will be strengthened, some diminished, but grace can work with it all.
– Robert Corin Morris, Provocative Grace: The Challenge in Jesus’ Words

For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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