It’s interesting how society favors the extrovert – the brash, outgoing, overtly expressive person. We are often encouraged to be bold in our public lives. Then somehow, when we step into our prayer space, we become timid, shy and reserved. We limit our petitions, we lower our expectations, then wonder why we feel spiritually dissatisfied.
God calls us to be humble, but not shy nor reserved with Him. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” My spiritual antenna goes up every time I see the word “all” in the Bible. Cast ALL my anxiety on you – really Lord? There are so many situations with myself and the world that burden my heart. Faith is believing that our heavenly Father is powerful enough to handle them all. Humility is recognizing our dependence on God – that we do not have to carry burdens, find our own solutions, or forge outcomes for ourselves. When we admit our limits and weaknesses, it releases that burden and serves as an open invitation for God to address whatever concerns us.
We are often plagued by fear, doubt, or shame. Those are tools of the enemy designed to hinder our prayer lives. Think about it: we have a relationship with God that the enemy can never have again. The devil is not after us per se, but after that rich, abundant relationship we can cultivate with our Creator. When our spiritual self-esteem is low, we struggle to believe that God even cares about us or our situation. God absolutely cares! As the Negro Spiritual song says “King Jesus is a’listening when you pray.” 1 John 5:14-15 says “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
If you find yourself experiencing fear, doubt, guilt, or shame, ask God to remove those hindrances and just as it says in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Then, proceed to pray boldly! Tell Him what upsets you, what troubles you, what scares you and invite Him to move in every situation that concerns you. I promise God is up for the challenge. He hears you, will never leave you and will answer when you call.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. “