Several years ago, my life was very uncertain. And in the middle of that loss, crisis, and stress, I began to question everything, down to the very foundation of my faith. I’d been very comfortable with prayer before, but then it became a struggle. Some days I was angry with God, some days I didn’t feel like I could trust Him, some days I just didn’t know what I felt.
Then I got the idea to read some of the book of Psalms first thing each morning. I didn’t get very far before I realized it’s a book of prayers. King David shared all his uncensored thoughts and emotions with God. He didn’t wait till he could present himself “properly.” If his heart was broken, he spoke as if it was. If he was overcome with joy, he shared it with God in praise.1
In Psalm 139, David says to God: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”2
When he was sure he needed help, he prayed: “To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: ‘What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.’”3
Doesn’t that sound like the communication of a heart that knows God? It’s intimate and confident, authentic, broken, and grateful all at the same time. David brought before God whatever he was feeling. He asked for whatever he needed. I decided to take my cue from him.
I let my prayers lose all formality. I voiced my desperation, hopes, hurts, petitions, joys, rage, fears, and needs using whatever words and feelings I had. Above all, I just kept talking with God. Even though I didn’t understand. Even though the answers were slow in coming.
Prayer is simply talking with God. “You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord,”4 David noted. God already knows what’s on your heart, no need to “dress it up” for Him.