Notes to Pilgrims #13
Many Christians tend to think of prayer only as a means to offer up requests to God. This is certainly true and the Bible does urge us to present our requests to God in prayer (cf. Philippians 4:6-7). But prayer is much more than just an avenue for supplications. Prayer is first and foremost about access.
The sinner who—by God’s grace—has repented of sin and turned to Jesus as the only ultimate life-death hope and help (Google: “Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1”), gains direct access to the Father through the Son. Jesus’ own words could not be any clearer, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” What this means is that Jesus opens up a direct line of access to God the Father for those who belong to Him through faith. That this is a remarkable privilege begins to be apparent when we survey how the people of God have prayed to Him throughout the pages of the Bible.
Take the book of Psalms for example. It is a book that compiles the songs the God’s people have sung to Him (and continue to sing to Him!) as heart prayers for millennia. And in these pages are recorded for us the inspired scripture words that reflect the whole gamut of human emotion—joy, anger, confidence, hope, fear, despair, indignation, &c. What this teaches us is that we can be more open to God in prayer than we ever were open to any other person we’ve opened up with. And if you really think about it, there really is no point in concealing anything from God when we pray since He is sovereign and knows our thoughts even before words form in our lips in prayer.
I have been in conversation with believers in the past who have told me that they did not know how to pray or what to pray for when they prayed. As such they tended to end up with a fixed prayer that they just repeated at set times in the day (e.g. before meals, upon waking up, or just before going to bed) and which eventually become a mere routine simply repeated out of duty and habit. In the odd chance that threat came knocking on their door, then they’d pray a heartfelt prayer for help; but other than that, their prayer lives suffered. In those conversations I would always encourage these dear brothers and sisters to simply approach prayer as a communication tool much like dialog and conversation are for any other human relationships that they had. And the key to a successful relationship/friendship, applies to our relationship with our Heavenly Father as well—communication.
So, go ahead. Tell Him everything. Don’t hold back. Know that because of Christ’s access granted to you at the Cross, there is now nothing that you can say that would turn His anger against you. Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you (Cf. 1 Peter 5:7) Are you upset? Discouraged? Confused? Joyful? Excited? Bored? Bring them to God in prayer. He’s your Father and He yearns to hear you out and to be in a love relationship with you.
—Pastor James (firstname.lastname@example.org)