How to be truthful in your personal prayer
Jesus told us clearly in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus is the truth. There is no guile, no deceit in him; he is the wholeness of truth, the fullness of truth. “Once you were ‘no people’ but now you are God’s people.” (1Peter 2:10) The more we live in truth in our personal lives, the more we can begin to experience God’s desire to walk with us in all things that constitute life for us on this earth.
So let’s apply this reality to our daily prayer. If you don’t have a daily prayer time, start. In a human sense, how can you expect to draw near to anyone, to build human friendships, without spending time together? So it is with God.
Begin each day with a prayer of thanksgiving and worship. Psalms can help you express your worship of God and thanksgiving to him for giving you life. I recommend Psalms 8, 84 and 92–100. Be honest when you worship and thank him.
Repent for where you have failed, in the last week, or in the last day. Ask God for grace to have the courage to change (grace is God sharing his life with us). He will help you become more like him by sharing himself with you. The more you walk in the truth, the more you begin to really know the One who is all truth. Reading Psalm 51 is a good way to express repentance for choosing the darkness over the light. Thank God for showing you the truth and ask him to walk with you, that you may overcome this pattern or habit of sin.
Read Matthew 13: 1-9 and determine how it applies to you. Ask God to help you understand this passage and see where you are in your life with regard to it. You see clearly the obstacles the farmer has with the seed he sows. Now comes the time for honesty. Ask yourself: “What are the birds and the thorns, the heat, the rocks in my life that keep the Lord’s word from being planted deeply in my mind and heart and enabling me to bear fruit? Am I bearing fruit in love, kindness, generosity, compassion, perseverance?” In other words, take an honest inventory.
We can all say, “O lord, I want to love you and serve you. I want to know you better. I want to be a better person.” But once we acknowledge such desires, then we need to ask the Lord to help us make a wise decision to change. Start with only one area. Is it anger, jealousy, greed or lust, for example, or (fill in the blank). What is it that causes me not to bear the fruits of justice, joy, peace, patience, kindness, mercy, etc.? (Only work with one fruit at a time so you don’t become discouraged.)
Take a little time to pray for your own needs and those of others. Be honest in making your requests to avoid sin and follow him more closely. You will be amazed at how near he draws when you confess sin and seek his help. We cannot save ourselves, try as we might.
Close with worship and thanksgiving, and don’t be afraid of the truth. Again, use the psalms. I recommended some at the beginning of this article that may be helpful for this purpose, but I also want to urge you to read a psalm or two every day. After doing this for a period of time, you will find some particular psalms that express your own thanksgiving in ways that are particularly meaningful to you. Use them.
The more conformed you are to the truth in thought and word and action, the closer Christ will come to you, bringing with him the fullness of truth in his very person. We are all sinners, and the more we are willing to live in the truth, the more we will know the peace and joy that only Christ can give.
Sister Ann Shields is a renowned author and a member of the Servants of God’s Love. Questions can be addressed to Sister Ann Shields, Renewal Ministries, 230 Collingwood, Suite 240, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. You can order her new book, More of the Holy Spirit, for $12 at www.renewalministries.net.