Book Excerpt 3
Here is another little taste of the book…
This is from the chapter on Prayer:
Questioning God honestly expresses your concern, frustration, and distress. Jesus says that our Father knows what we need from Him before we even ask. Therefore, it is ignorant to fake like we are doing perfectly well before God all the while we are broken inside. While counseling with members of my church and meeting in small groups, I find that most people think they are being honest with God when in reality that is not the case. In actuality, they are not even being honest with themselves, much less God. Most of the time, God listens to prayers laced with hidden sin, no repentance, memorized clichés, and self promoting requests.
First, in dishonest prayers, we are not open about our hidden sin. We either do not see it, or we are trying to hide it and act like it does not matter. We are afraid of facing life without the pleasure it provides. We are addicted to the cheap reward of sin and can not see the benefits of purity much less the eternal consequence. However, many of us love God and we find ways of hiding in our own Garden of Eden like Adam and Eve did after eating the fruit. God is looking for our honesty just like He searched for Adam and Eve that day. It is in our honest heart felt prayers toward God that true progress is made in our relationship with Him. When we choose to reveal our sin to him, it gives Him open access to forgive us. Without our permission, God’s hands are tied. Psalms 8:6 says, “You (God) have given him (man) dominion over the works of your hands; You have put all things under his feet. (ESV)” God creates the world in such a way that humans possess the authority to choose whom they will serve. God does not barge into our spiritual or natural lives and dictate what the day’s schedule will be. However, if we open up our schedule to Him, He is more than willing and able to work on our behalf.
Regardless of the good works we are achieving in life, if we continue a life of sin hidden from God, we are cheating God and life. My definition of integrity is purity and dependability. Many of our prayers lack integrity. We pray about all the things we need and want, and think are required for ministry. All the while we look over the anger we have for the friend on the praise team or the softball team. We hide the lust we have been playing with at work, the lingering looks and the gentle suggestions. We avoid talking to God about the business deal that needs a little cover up, the tax return that needs a little flubbing. We think that God has not listened to every whisper or text message, every email or phone call. God has listened, read, and watched every action big or small. He knows every flagrant foul, white lie, brushing of bodies, and website logged onto. Yet, when we talk to Him as Christians, we often avoid those references.
Our generation is losing our grasp on the reality of hell. The preaching and teaching of our leadership, for the most part, has drifted from wages of sin and rewards of grace in eternity. Most messages, sermons, and books are simply how to make it ‘today’. Our thoughts and concerns of eternity seem to be placed on the back burner. The Bible mentions there will be a generation that wants its ears scratched, meaning we don’t want honest, hard-hitting truth about the sin we are living in. We want messages about how we can get out of the mess we are in. In truth, both of these are intrinsically related. The majority of the mess we are in is because of the sin we are in. When we are repulsed and convicted of our sin, turn from our wicked ways, then we will hear from God, He will forgive us and our lives will begin a slow turning around. The Old Testament establishes this concept and the New Testament reaffirms it.
When we reach a breaking point in our life sin reveals itself. If it is not revealed, you search your life like a starving mad man trying to find anything that could have caused such an awful turn of events. Thank God for this. In Jesus’ most famous sermon, he talks about the horrible side of sin and tells his followers to do everything possible to avoid sin. He suggests we should even poke our eye out or cut off our arm if those cause us to sin.
Second, in dishonest prayers, we do not ask for what we truly need. We ask for things we want. In reality, our needs and wants are often different. When we are honest in our prayers to God, we ask for things like purity not pleasure. We ask for authenticity, integrity, and help with our temptations. For example in our marriage, we should seek strength to be honest with our spouse instead of asking for a better marriage. Because often when we pray for a ‘better marriage’ what we are really asking is for God to heal the marriage without us changing or being honest with our spouse. Dishonest prayers are prayers for magic. We want God to perform a supernatural act that will hide all of our inconsistencies. Sure, God has that power, however, he desires our honest prayers that reveal to him acknowledgment of our sin and a desire for life change. We want no pain, no discomfort, no brokenness, and inconsistency. God does not want it as the end result, however, He allows portions of it
Honest prayers acknowledge the pain that we are going through and asks God for grace to see us through the breaking point. Honest prayers speak positive words of faith. We should not deny the pain or fake like it does not exist. We should address it. Face the brokenness head-on. God knows about it, you know about it, and the devil knows about. When we act like it does not exist, we are shortchanging the situation. God’s power is not intimidated by the size and scope of your problem. In fact, asking God for help in desperate situations actually honors God. Your honest prayer in essence says, “God, I believe you are big enough to do anything I need, and you actually care enough to act on my behalf.”
 Matthew 6:8
 Genesis 3
 2 Timothy 4:3
 2 Chronicles 7:14, Acts 2:38
 Matthew 5