Timidity was never meant to be a part of the Christian vocabulary. Meekness and humility, yes. But timidity? No.
We are instructed in 2 Timothy 1:7 that 'the Spirit God gives us does not make us timid but gives us power, love and self-discipline.' Let’s look at this scripture and the concept of timidity in the context of prayer.
God has been doing a work in my heart over the past few weeks, perhaps even months, around how I spend time with Him in devotion. After walking the Christian walk for 14 years to date, my prayer life and journaling had become a little safe.
God revealed to me that I rarely go after the things that I really want in prayer and rather, I offer Him a polite and well-put-together request for ‘safe things’ that aren’t likely to be refused.
Some may call this manners. I think God was trying to tell me that it had become timidity.
Timidity means to lack in self-assurance, courage or bravery.
Does this sound like the stance we should take when approaching our Father in Heaven in prayer?
So, something had to change.
I looked up the verse mentioned above and began to dissect the approach I should take as a daughter of the King.
The first thing that the Apostle Paul encourages us to have rather than timidity is power.
After gently correcting me, God revealed to me that my conversations with Him should be dialogues of power, not timidity.
I shouldn’t come to God and sound like this:
“Father God, I pray that you would just, if it’s not too much trouble, perhaps, if possible, maybe if it’s your will…”
This kind of weakness in prayer does not honour my time with God nor does it honour our relationship as daughter and Heavenly Father. God is the God of the universe; He created all things and holds all things in His hands. He can handle my frankness and honesty in prayer.
Imagine if a child approached their parent with this kind of request. I would imagine that the parent would be devastated that their child thinks so little of themselves that they would share their heart from a place of such fear.
The Lord’s prayer models for us how we are to approach God in prayer – in power! The words of the Lord’s prayer are clear, concise and decisive (see Matthew 6:9-13). They do not apologise or hesitate.
This is the kind of powerful prayer stance we should take, knowing the authority we have in Jesus to pray bold prayers, with power.
Please hear me. I do not for one second believe that we should come storming into the throne room of Heaven, wagging our finger at God and demanding that He give us a pony. Not at all. I believe that we should come to God with honour, reverence and awe.
When we come to God with our prayers and petitions within His will – as we are encouraged in scripture to do – I believe that we should do so in love.
Christianity is often talked about as a ‘religion’, conjuring up thoughts of rules and regulations, do’s and don'ts. This could not be farther from the truth.
Relationship is what our faith is built upon. A loving connection between Heaven and earth. From this place of affectionate closeness, we should offer up our prayers and requests.
This can give us a new boldness, to know that we are not asking a cold and hard dictator for the desires of our hearts, but a kind and generous God.
Love must be at the centre.
Having said all this, there is a final component that 2 Timothy 1 gives us that can be applied to our conversation around prayer.
When we come to God with our newfound power and love, we must come with a sober mind.
I don’t think it is wise to throw around prayers for things that we have not carefully thought about first. If we received what we are praying for, would it be a good thing for all concerned? Is the prayer selfish or ill-considered?
This is where self-discipline comes in.
The Bible says this in Psalm 139:23-24:
‘Search me God and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.’
I felt challenged to come to God having already considered the condition of my heart, my motivations and where I am at in my walk with God. This gives me the sober mindedness that allows me to pray prayers that are well considered and thought through.
I don’t want to squash the passion out of overflowing prayer that just comes out of a heart that is on fire. I simply encourage us to have the self-discipline to think carefully about what we are bringing as requests to God.
Hebrews 4:16 says this:
‘So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.’
Come boldly before your God today. Don’t mince your words or apologise for who you are or what you are requesting of Him. Come with power, love and self-discipline and receive the mercy and grace that is promised when we approach our kind, compassionate and loving God.
Ask for what you need and want, then wait expectantly as Heaven responds.