In case you haven’t noticed, I (Hillary) am a big fan of honesty. This has worked both to my favor and my detriment in regular life. People know they can come to me to get honest assessments of things. On the flip side of that coin, I sometimes don’t guard my words as carefully as I should.

When I’m coming to God in prayer, I find it necessary to let Him know where I am—right here, right now, with all the ugly out there for Him to see. There is nothing I withhold, no matter how horrible it feels to admit or say aloud to Him. So, in that vein, there is no honest that is too honest. I find that, in general, it is helpful to verbalize out all my yuck first, and then I can see what needs changing. Think about it this way: If you are lost and need directions, you must figure out where you are first. Only then can you navigate to where you want to be. I find that to be the case emotionally. When I feel trapped or lost in grief or anger or discontentment, I need to identify where I am before the Lord so He can lovingly direct me out of the pit.

The point where we can go from honest to toxic, however, is when I begin to ruminate on the negatives to the exclusion of truth. If all I’m doing is wallowing in my sin (or my hurt feelings, or my anger, what-have-you) then it can be easy to start reinforcing those feelings. At this point, we have released all our blech, but failed to inhale truth and goodness. If we stop at the step of identifying our emotions without moving forward, we haven’t done ourselves any favors.

Yes, we have total permission to say allllll the things to God—but, we must purposely redirect our thoughts to what is ultimately true, not what feels true right now. David does this really well in the Psalms. He cries, he rants, he rages. And then he starts listing all the beautiful truths about God, such as His faithfulness and kindness (Psalm 10,13, 22, and 143 are good examples.). Or David declares what he’s going to do in the face of his suffering: “I will always have hope! I will praise you more and more!” (Psalm 71:14).

We can do the same in our honest prayers. Yes! Cry out to the Lord! But always circle back to who He is and what He’s done—the ways He has been faithful to you already. Honest is only too honest when you refuse to move on from the unfiltered negative realities and don’t interact with the life-giving positive truths. And if you are having a hard time moving on, then tell that to God, too!  It’s one more thing to be honest about. (“Ooops! God, I’m doing it again. I’m ruminating and it’s just making me feel worse. I really want to move on to your glory, but I’m having a really hard time. Please redirect my thoughts to what is true.) Then choose to speak what is true, even if you don’t feel like it. Forcing yourself to verbalize truth (whether through writing or speaking) has an amazing way of redirecting both our thoughts and our feelings. Our emotions often have to catch up to what our brains have already acknowledged. That’s where meditating on the truth comes in. When we force ourselves to acknowledge truth, we can’t help but fall back in love with what God has already done for us. So, be honest Mama Bears! But be truthful too. And remember, honesty and truth aren’t always the same thing.

Yes! Cry out to the Lord! But always circle back to who He is and what He’s done—the ways He has been faithful to you already. #honestprayersformamabears #honestprayers #prayer Click To Tweet

 

Part of this blog was taken from our newest book Honest Prayers for Mama Bears which you can find here

 

 

 

 

 

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