In my sermon last week, I referenced Habakkuk’s prayer to the Lord and marveled at his openness when he spoke to Him. I recall asking, “How straightforward, how bold, are you when it comes to talking to the Lord?” I want to run off of that question in this week’s sermon. You see, we should certainly have ourselves a little talk with Jesus, and tell Him all about our troubles. Yet, the question is, how open and straightforward are we when we talk to the Lord? Many of us are not comfortable with being open and straightforward with the Lord.
Talking to Jesus
Now, when I say ‘talk with Jesus’, I do not want you to believe I am saying talk with Jesus like how we are able to communicate with each other by words, by mouth or through sign language. I’m sure there is someone who will hear that and think that way. No, when I say ‘talk with Jesus’, I am speaking spiritually — I am talking about praying to Him and in His name.
Now, I understand that not everybody believes in prayer or that prayer even works. Yet, for you that do not believe, I tell you that I am living proof that prayer does work. Just this past week I saw the Lord lift a dark cloud immediately after I had prayed and asked Him to do so. The fact that I am still able to do the things I do today is living proof that prayer really works! Yes, I believe in prayer and that prayer works! You see, I believe that there is power in the name of Jesus.
Struggle with talking to Him
Truth be told, however, there are genuine believers who are not as confident or comfortable in their prayer life as I am. Some believe that there is something potentially wrong with their prayers so they choose not to pray. Other struggles that some of us have ranges from fear of messing up a prayer to believing that God will judge our prayers harshly.
Again, truth be told, there are some believers who find themselves weak in faith and don’t believe that their prayers to God matters and can make a difference. So, like others, they’re also not really confident in their prayers to God. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that we who are of strong faith, should bear with and help those who are struggling in their faith (Rom. 15:1). So, I tell you today that if you struggle with praying to the Lord because you lack confidence, that you actually have good reason to be full of confidence when it comes to having a talk with Jesus and I want to give you that confidence.
We find confidence in what David wrote when he said if you delight yourself in the Lord, He (God) will give you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4). We should also find confidence in what Jesus said when He said, “ask, and it will be given to you (Matt. 7:7)”. Jesus continued on and said that if our children ask for bread and fish, we do not give them a stone or a snake. He said, when speaking about God’s giving, “If you then, being evil (a sinner), know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:9-11)?”
I share those scriptures with you because we should be full of confidence when we go to talk with Jesus! Our confidence should come from the fact that we know that if we ask (if we pray), then God will answer. God will indeed give us our heart’s desire! The Lord is not someone who goes back on His word! He is a keeper of His word, His promises, and answering our prayers is a promise that He has made with us! Be confident in this knowledge!
Straightforward, Open, and Honest with God
As confident as we should be in God answering our prayers, we should be equally comfortable with simply going to Him in prayer. Yet, being comfortable with going to the Lord in prayer, as I mentioned before, is the big hang up for many of us. Many of us are simply not comfortable with going to God in prayer. Let’s take a look at the good reason as to why we should not be uncomfortable with talking to the Lord.
Our great shame
Let’s first try to understand why so many of us are uncomfortable with talking to God. I honestly believe this goes back to Adam in the garden. In the garden, after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they saw that they were naked and were ashamed (Gen. 3:7). God came calling for Adam in the garden and Adam and Eve both hid themselves because of this shame (Gen. 3:8-10). Many of us are uncomfortable with talking to the Lord because we are ashamed of our nakedness — something we have done (our sins).
We get a lot like Adam in the garden and try to hide from the Lord because we are so embarrassed by our shame (Gen. 3:9-10). The first thing I want to remind you is this: God is well aware of what you have done! He looked ahead and because of how we are and that He loved us, He gave the world His only begotten Son (John 3:16). God sent His only begotten Son to the world to die for the sins you and I committed yesterday, today, and tomorrow! So, ask yourself, what do you have to be ashamed about?
The sympathetic High Priest
Let’s keep working on erasing that embarrassment and shame in this message so that we can be comfortable with talking to Jesus. In the first of our key verses, the writer of Hebrews says, “we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses.” The writer says that Jesus is sympathetic to our weakness – our ability to error. You may ask, why or how can Jesus be sympathetic to what we go through in the world? The writer says it’s because Jesus was “in all points tempted as we are”.
We can cross-reference this scripture with Jesus’ own words when He spoke to the disciples about being with Him during His trials (Luke 18:28). Now, Jesus did not fall to sin as we do, but that does not mean He does not understand living in a world of sin! Yes, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, but simply living in this world of sin was a temptation of sin as well!
We are not Him who was divine and without sin, and Jesus understands this! Not only does Jesus understand this but He gets what you and I go through because He lived in this world! In this, know that He’s not going to judge you harshly or frown upon you for your errors or in the moments when you fall! We have a High Priest who is not like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and would look down on sinners. I believe there are many religious folks today who will look down on others as sinners – Jesus is not like that! God sympathizes with you.
Find comfort in His sympathy
We should find great comfort in knowing that the Lord sympathizes with us. Many of us are afraid to open up to the Lord because of our shame; we go into our shells (we hide). Knowing that God understands us and sympathizes with us in our failings (our weakness), we ought not be ashamed to come out of our shell and talk to Him.
We should open up and be honest about our feelings, our emotions, and what we are thinking when we talk to the Lord. Remember, you are in a relationship (in fellowship) with Him and nobody likes to be in a relationship when communication is not open. We look for open communication with truth and honesty with others and the Lord looks for those things in His relationship with us.
God already knows your thoughts afar off so there’s no need in not being open with Him (Ps. 139:2). God also knows what we are feeling and what we are in need of before we even pray it (Matt. 6:7-8). So, why attempt to keep these things from the Lord? Yet, we do it all the time and I believe that this hurts us a great deal in our fellowship with God.
Be Bold with God
Now, we will see in the second of my key verses for today, that the writer of Hebrews concludes that we should “come boldly” to the throne of grace. We should be both confident and comfortable when we approach His throne to speak with Him; be unashamed and unafraid! Yes, we are supposed to be God fearing people in that we seek His grace because of what He will do to sin. This does not mean we should be afraid to approach the One we believe in and call “our Father”.
Fall down on your knees
It is time we go back to falling down on our knees and crying out to the Lord and letting Him know when we are in pain and suffering, or going through trials and tribulation too hard to bear! Be comfortable letting the Lord know when you’re angry, upset, disgruntled, or even broken-hearted!
I feel it is so important for us to let God know what is on our mind. The writer of Hebrews said we should go boldly before His throne so that we may receive “mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” God will hear the sincerity of your prayer and most certainly answer it. Not only that, but I believe you will find that you’ll feel so much better physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually once you’ve prayed that sincere prayer. God will uplift you and I do believe that this kind of uplifting happens immediately.
Now, as the old hymn says, “let us have a little talk with Jesus. Let us tell Him all about our troubles. He will hear our faintest cry, and He will answer by and by. And when you feel a little prayer wheel turnin’, you will know a little fire is burnin’. Find a little talk with Jesus makes it right.”