“If you haven’t accepted Jesus into your heart, pray this prayer with me…”
The beginning of every altar call sounds similar if not exactly like this. We “pray the prayer” and are then brought into the Lord’s presence and house for the first time. He is ours and we are His. The greatest decision I have made has been repeating this prayer with my youth pastor at 13 years old.
If I may be frank, do we continue to repeat this prayer in our adulthood walk? Thinking that because it was the best decision we made, we can continue with it in the same way we have from the beginning?
I have suffered greatly in this year. If you have ever experienced anything traumatic you figure out quickly that your relationship with God can, if you have one, suffer greatly in your suffering. Not because you want it to, but because we tend to hurt the ones we love the most.
In my grief I have not wanted to enter into any sort of intimacy with anyone. But, specifically with the Lord. In the earlier stages It has been painful and often very exposing. In the earlier stages of this journey, I resorted back to repetition:
“Lord, be over my family. Help us heal.”
“Lord I pray discernment for my friends and great love for them.”
I became fluent in “Christianese” or Christian political correctness, in my prayer life. This lasted several months and seeped into my other relationships as well.
Another interesting part of suffering is other people’s lives move on. But, you continue to sit in the chair while the rain of emotions drenches you. Grief in any form, demands attention. It makes people uncomfortable when you do not move on as quickly as they do. I began to cater to them by repeating that same political correctness I had with the Lord:
“I am fine..”
“We are fine…”
“God has us…”
“There is a reason for everything…”
I was repeating. And it was working.
I bring this up only because it is short-lived like most inauthentic behavior. I think we allow it to be more common than we know. For six or seven months I have allowed my repetition to be the shield between myself and all relationships. Blocking any sort of real connection that was trying to reach me.
I am not entirely out of this place. However, recently have come to a peak in it. I have reached a space where the pain is deep enough that pretending is not an option anymore. Like grief, authenticity demands attention and is always eventually shown.
Prayer specifically is the arena where inauthentic behavior cannot dwell. It is almost like being a functioning addict…it only lasts so long before you are exposed…and I have been exposed. Luckily not in a humiliating manner. I have been slowly and delicately brought to truth instead. My Father has remained consistent in His love for me and after a complete breakdown, meltdown, cathartic moment, I decided to move towards change.
I came completely angry to the Lord in prayer. Begging for a shift in my circumstances because I could not take anymore of what I had been given. Several walls of joy in my life had been broken down and I came to the Lord about it.
If those are not repeat prayers I don’t know what are….
But it was not so much what I asked of the Lord, that altered my life, but what he asked of me.
I heard Him say through my cries, “pray for justice Alli. Ask me for justice in this.”
And so I did.
I begged for justice. That my efforts towards love and holiness would be seen by Him and that in return I would see the Lord’s justice in my life. Not what I deem just, but what HE does.
You see, I was reluctant to ask for what I really wanted. I thought I was dishonoring God, asking for justice for myself. To ask to be fought for or shown favor was self-seeking and even degrading to Gods power.
In any stage, phase, function, of our lives God wants us exactly how we are. He took me angry, fake, etc…., because he wanted ME. It is key to reset ourselves in that truth, otherwise, we fall into repeating when we do not. We fall into routine with the Creator of the universe, galaxy, stars and of us. Our God deserves more than the repeat prayer. That is why I share my story.
I share this too because asking the Lord for things like JUSTICE…
IS MORE THAN OK.
We cannot function in only allowing certain prayers. Using “Christianese” to approach the Lord. He knows our intentions not just our actions. He knows the “whats” AND the”whys” , not just the “whats”.
I know that some of you are thinking, “if he knows the whats and whys, Then why am I repeating them?” Well…. you are one smart cookie. It is like when you know your child has gotten into trouble and you are waiting for them to come to you with it. You already have knowledge of their failure but you want them to come to you with the truth. Then you can guide, teach, and love them.
God wants us as His sons and daughters to come with all things. In order to connect. Genuinely connect with you. So bring it!
As I bid you adieu, I leave you with my heart completely open. I am in no way a perfector of prayers. Every day has a level of struggle for me, as I learn to come to the Lord with my tender subjects. My grief comes in waves and I am learning to surf.
If anything can be taken from this writing, I hope that it is, that you know that you can show up just as your are. Show up angry. Show up beautiful. Show up broken. He just wants you. He just wants me. The beauty of agape love is that He does have complete knowledge of you.
A dear friend of mine, who has walked through this difficult year with me, was sitting with me as I cried in frustration to her. I yelled and expressed every ounce of my heart that I could to her. As I finished she just said, “Wow. even angry you are so beautiful.” The Lord loves you, You are His sweetness. Let Him have you.
In love and service,
Alli Sue Lance is an artist, writer, creative, and lover of Jesus. She lives in Murrieta, CA and works at Centerpoint Church doing administration and youth ministry.
Her ultimate goal is to further the name of Jesus through authentically loving people. Her hope in contributing to Her Roar is to do that through sharing her greatest failures and successes for the benefit of our readers.