How to Pray Genuine Prayers

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Summary: What do we do with our most volatile emotions, the hurt and betrayal of our closest friends and allies, and how we really feel that we can’t show to others? We give it to Jesus and our most intimate moments in His presence.


In my last post, I described how you can pray for others with intercessory prayer. In this post, I want to expound on genuine prayer where we are ourselves before the Lord.

One thing most cannot stand for his fakeness. We detected right away. We can tell when someone is acting or not being genuine with us. We expect this in acting on the big screen, but otherwise we don’t stand for it.

We see it in everything from politics to Hollywood. Many actors can’t seem to get real with us when they are not acting. We see it in those closest to us, and from afar. We don’t like being lied to. We don’t like the fake plastic smiles of people who lie to our faces.

And yet we esteem it when we hear fakeness in prayers. What sounds like nice, flowery prayers to us God will treat the same way we treat the fakeness around us. When we come before the Lord in prayer, we must learn to be genuine before him, honest, and authentic.

After all, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows when we are not presenting ourselves the way we feel. We must learn to be genuine before the Lord, so let’s dive in and find out how to pray genuine prayers that please him, even when we would not want to deal with anyone who treated us the way we sometimes treat and speak to God.

The Naked Soul

We struggle to be honest in our emotions with others. We don’t want to be vulnerable, to expose ourselves to be violated and put on display. We cannot seem to trust even those closest to us. No matter how well they know us, we are always trying to hide from them, put a façade between us.

We get so used to finding ways to ask are fooling motions or keep ourselves from such exposure that we forget when we come to the Lord in prayer, He knows us. We cannot hide from our Creator. Nor should we.

Nakedness was the first thing Adam and Eve realized was no longer natural for them in the garden of Eden (). Since then, sin has robbed us of the ability to present ourselves as we truly are to one another. But in our relationship with God, we must learn vulnerability is the best policy.

We lay ourselves bare before the Lord on His altar. He’s the one Person who won’t abuse us When We Are Vulnerable before Him. If there’s anyone you can run to with your naked honesty, it is the Lord Jesus. Strangely to us, He wants to see the real us.

Many times in the Gospels, Jesus asked people with obvious maladies, diseases, and disorders what they wanted Him to do for them. He wanted them to declare their problem before Him. By declaring their desire for healing, they gained the clarity and freedom of their faith. And Jesus healed them with His powerful touch.

We must declare ourselves before the Lord to receive His healing touch. Who else can we come to in the moments we need compassion, comfort, encouragement, and correction? Jesus never misuses or mistreats us when we lay ourselves bear before Him on His alter to receive from Him.

Your Volatile Emotions

When are volatile emotions come out, anger, jealousy, fear, lust, and vengeance, people react in the negative ways we have reacted to them. No one wants to be the recipient of such volatile emotions and the actions that follow them.

So when we enter into the Lord’s presence, we expect the same reaction from Him. When we are angry because we feel He is silent, doesn’t act in our favor, disciplines us, or we expected different outcomes then He gives, we have learned to hide these volatile emotions.

But to our surprise, Jesus doesn’t react the way others have. He is not afraid to see the worst in us. Long ago,            He was the victim of the worst humanity offers when he died on the Cross for you and me. He knows what we are capable of. And yet, He loves us with an everlasting love ().

Jesus knows how we want to react, when we are hiding ourselves and our emotions from Him. Do we really think we surprise Him or can get away with hiding? Even in the garden God asked Adam and Eve where they were, knowing where they were and that they were hiding from Him. Of course, he even knew why they were hiding.

And He knows why we hidehired from Him. He knows how we feel. Just as He knows our prayer requests before we ask them, he wants to hear from us. He wants us to be free before Him. Unlike everyone else, He isn’t afraid of us. He doesn’t get angry with us when we authentically express ourselves in His presence.

The Honest Truth

I know God doesn’t have human features and form, except for Jesus. But the truth about God is best expressed with human phrasing. When you come before God with volatile emotions, and are real before Him, He can handle everything you have. God’s got big, broad shoulders.

Let us not forget He created us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He prefers us to be real before Him, to present ourselves as we are. David said there was nowhere he could go outside of God’s presence (Psalm 139:7). You cannot go anywhere from God’s presence. He sees everything that happens to you and how you really feel.

God gives us freedom before Him when we are vulnerable and genuine. He won’t walk away from you if you lash out in anger. He can handle it. You know those emotions that come out against love ones and friends that make them turn away from you, give you the silent treatment, or get angry? God doesn’t react the same way.

David prayed the worst things against his enemies while he was angry and betrayed. When bad things happened to David, God was his sounding board. David had a relationship with God where he knew he could say anything, and God understood.

God is faithful when we are unfaithful. We can lash out in our anguish, and He understands. When He needed His friends the most, Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and His disciples left Him to suffer the brutality of the Cross. Even in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus bore His grief alone. His disciples couldn’t even stay awake to pray and keep watch. He understands all our emotions and what we want to do because of them.

Be real with Jesus. Perhaps only our lack of authenticity perturbs Him. He sees through our pretenses and façades. We cannot protect ourselves from Him, and He will not mistreat us. We can unleash our volatility on Jesus before we destroy our human relationships that we may not salvage.

God can handle your confusion, anger, and everything you throw at Him. He is the Friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). But we shouldn’t take advantage of His kindness toward us. We should not abuse His kindness with our volatility every time we come to Him.

He can take our brutal worst. But He wants are open, honest, bare souls. We can come to Him in blessed good times, and dark times when we need to cry on His shoulder. He wants to be with us at our best and worst. Whatever our mood or disposition, He accepts us for who we are.

What Happens in Genuine Prayer

When we enter the Lord’s presence, no matter what we bring before Him, He encourages us, lets us event, perhaps His soothing presence around us, and envelops us in His comfort. He walks with us through the worst of our experiences.

As Jesus teaches us to live in community with others, to rejoice with them when they rejoice, to mourn with them when they mourn, and to suffer alongside of other saints, so Jesus does in our prayer closet when no one else sees us.

God’s Response

He heals us in our emotional hurt. He binds up the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). And as He does, our relationship with Him gets deeper and intimate. Jesus makes us greater than we when we are vulnerable in genuine before Him.

There’s nothing more beautiful than our growing relationship with Him. When we are open and vulnerable with the Lord, He increases our trust and faith in Him. We learn to lean on Jesus even more. We learn to expect this from Him, and He never fails us.

He becomes the one we run to, our shelter from the storm, and the one who teaches us more about ourselves. He saves us from destroying other relationships, from lashing out at the wrong people. He shares His eternal perspective in our temporal judgment.

Let It Happen

We don’t want anyone to see us at our worst, but only Jesus can help us then. Only He can take the storm raging within us. He can take the evil inside and heal it for His glory.

So, get real before Jesus. Lash out if you have to. Say what you’d say to those who hurt you. Jesus understands. And only He can make things, and you, better. He uses the worst things that happen to us to increase our faith, improve our character, and teach us to trust Him. Let Jesus be your sounding board and Friend.

Growth Challenge

The next time others hurt you, betray you, or treat you badly, run to Jesus and let it out. Let the emotion sweep over you, the anger drain from you, and Jesus’s soothing and healing presence surround you, envelop you, and wash over you.

Up Next

We have just talked about how we should come before the Lord with a genuine and authentic approach. Sometimes when we come before God, He is silent. Let’s explore how to handle God’s silence in our prayers next.

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