Presence-Filled Prayer: Experiencing God in Prayer

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Be Honest

Scripture:

“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” 1 Peter 3:10–12

Devotional:

One of my biggest struggles in life is finding the courage to be honest. Honesty feels a little scary and way too risky. I wonder, will people love me as I am? And if they don’t, what do I have left? If I stop building facades and let people see who I truly am, weird quirks and all, what do I have to fall back on if people reject me? I mean, if people reject a façade, I can just build another one. But if they reject me as I really am, I’m out of options.

But at the same time, when I do find the courage to be my true self, to live honestly even for a moment, it feels like this great weight is lifted off. Building façades is exhausting work. And at the end of the day if someone does love my façade, which rarely seems to happen, I always question whether they would love the true me. I always wonder if they knew the peculiarity, fault, or sin I’m working so hard to cover up, if they would have paid that compliment or wanted to spend time with me at all.

I also find that I often have the same difficulty being honest with God as I do other people. I know it doesn’t make sense. I know he knows more about me than I know about myself. But it feels a lot better to try and push away conviction, or run away from the light he’s shining on a wound or sin, than to see the worst parts of me for what they are. It feels easier to work on my outer issues, the fringe problems I have, than to try and work on the core, foundational things I’ve stuffed as deep down as they can go.

But in all my trying I get this great overwhelming sense that God is waiting to meet with the real Craig. I don’t sense his presence when I’m acting, when I’m faking it. He’s not that interested in the fringe problems that only really exist because I haven’t dealt with the real stuff yet. He is frustratingly patient. And he is wise enough to wait to meet with me until I come before him open and honest.

I’m learning that being honest is the key to experiencing God. It’s the first step on the journey to encounter. The Holy Spirit longs to draw me into the manifest presence of God. He longs to reveal the depths God’s unconditional love and unfathomable goodness. But he isn’t interested in meeting with who I wish I was. He wants the real me. He knows that it doesn’t do him or me any good to bless a lie. It would only encourage those practices that are robbing me of truly receiving the loving presence he gives by grace, to who I truly am, faults and failures included.

So today, as we begin this process of experiencing God’s presence in prayer, let’s follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Let’s ask him for the courage to be honest. His presence awaits us. He’s ready to guide us into a lifestyle of experiencing his love poured out. May his smile fill us with the courage and grace to come before him as we are and to rest in his unconditional love.

Guided Prayer:

  1. Take a moment and be honest with yourself. How are you doing? How do you feel toward yourself? How do you feel toward God? Take note of whatever thoughts or emotions rise to the surface.
  1. Now take a moment to bring yourself before God in prayer with full honesty. Tell him what you’re thinking about. Tell him how you feel. Trust that he sees you right where you are and cares about the things you care about. He cares deeply about how you’re doing.
  2. Spend a moment in silence and receive God’s presence. Pay attention to any way he reveals that he is with you.
  3. Now take a few moments to rest in God’s presence. How is his presence changing you? What affect is his peace and love having on your perception of life? Allow his presence to work in you, that his peace would refresh even the driest places in your heart.

Tomorrow we’ll take time to explore God’s desire to have a conversation with you. But for today, rest in the truth that his presence is enough.


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