One of the most important things about prayer is working out my relationship with God. Sometimes I shy away from praying about myself. “Others are more important,” I tell myself. “I need to focus on their needs.” And it’s true we don’t want prayer to be a self absorbed exercise.
But I am realizing how vital it is to talk to God about myself, where I am, and wrestle things through WITH HIM.
At house church this week we each shared what personal weaknesses we thought others had to bear with in us. We all have characteristics that can be an obstacle to our relationships. The same is true with God. Prayer can be the time when I get in touch with the weaknesses — my fears, my selfishness, my worries, and so on — that are impediments in my relationship with Him. It’s a time to open my heart and be honest. I tell God I want to change, but I’m not sure how.
There is always a response from God, a sense of peace. There is often insight and guidance. There is definitely a feeling of clearing the air and connection.
If I pray through the Lord’s prayer, one of the hardest parts for me has been the confession of sin. Usually I can’t think of what to say. I know I’ve been selfish and prideful, but it’s sort of a large amorphous feeling. I know I should tell God I’m sorry for what I’ve done wrong, but it doesn’t feel sincere.
Learning to have a conversation with God about what’s going on inside of me is a breakthrough for me. It’s more organic. It feels right.
So in prayer, petition is good. Praise is good. But it is also the time for me and Him to get stuff straight. I can’t keep going on without resolving what’s inside. I need to bring it in the open and talk about it. I need to find ways to deal with it. I need to ask for help with it.
This is the stuff of relationships — that real, vulnerable conversation where you find your footing with one another. I’ve been hiding behind walls. The more I open myself up, the more things work, and the more my eyes are opened that this is the way they’re supposed to work.