In the Psalter, David once wrote, “Trust in Him [that is God] at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8 ESV). This verse of Scripture invites us to act in two distinct ways: 1) Trust in God always; 2) Pour out your heart before Him. Now the first command is a call to faith. It is a call to believe in God’s promises, and not merely when it is convenient but “at all times.” But the second command provides a most interesting image: “pour out your heart before him…” What are we to make of that?
Prayer is the chief means of our communion with God. As the origin of the word hints at, to have communion with God means “to share” with Him. And that which we are implored to share is the content of our hearts. It is as if our hearts are an enormous pot and God invites us to pour it out before Him that we might consider its contents together. Sometimes as we sit together and examine what’s been bubbling within us, we notice that things seem to be doing better than before. But other times, we find bits that are tart and perhaps unseemly. Both are welcome before God. But of course, we are speaking metaphorically.
Far too often we have a habit of over complicating the simple. We see this in our world when we must get together with someone new. Whether it be for business or pleasure, sometimes we have the tendency to overcomplicate the simple. We do better to consider children. How do they treat a first-time meeting at a park? It’s all rather simple…
“Hey do you want to play?” “Okay.” and then ZOOM! they are off to run, climb and play.
We “big-folk” tend to overcomplicate everything with our prepared topics, limited gestures, particular fashion choices, or whatever odd things we think about prior to meeting with another human being. We need to return to the basics. We need to keep it simple.
Our communing with God, our prayers, are simply our conversing with God. Now we are only able to do this because of the Lord Jesus Christ. He instructed us saying, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24 ESV) We can only come to the Father in joy and hope because of Christ. Christ’s blood purifies our hearts. Christ’s righteousness covers our unrighteousness. Christ’s substitutionary death in our place and glorious resurrection opens the heavens for all who confess Christ as Lord. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:13 ESV) We have been brought near to God through Christ and near to one another. But to what end?
We have been brought near to have peace with God. There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a good friend. The ability to call them at any time. The ability to complain. The ability to confront in love. The ability to be confronted in love. The ability to be honest. All these things are enjoyed between friends. Because of Christ, like Abraham, we are made friends of God.
As friends, God invites us, through Christ, to pour our hearts before Him. He invites us to speak clearly about the weighty matters of our hearts. He doesn’t tell us to keep back the sad or hard bits because He’s too busy. Instead, He compels us to lay before Him the fine china of our hearts because His hands, though mighty, are delicate enough to put the broken bits back together.
How do we know this? He gives us His very Spirit. The Spirit has been given to the church for more reasons than I can note here. But one most precious reason is that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” (Romans 8:26 ESV) Why? Paul continued, “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:27 ESV)
God not only desires to commune with us, but removes every obstacle that would hinder our fellowship. Whether it be our sin, which is conquered through Christ’s person and work, or even our own insufficiencies which God happily aids through His Spirit who lives in us. In short, God has removed every obstacle for our prayers so that we can come near.
Are you drawing near today in prayer? Are you trusting God? Trusting what He says about you in Christ? Or are you pretending that God’s preparations for intimate friendship failed to consider some unique obstacle in your world?
Our prayers do not have to impress anyone. They need to simply come from the heart. They can be spoken. They can be silent. They can be long. They can be brief. But if they are genuine, and to God through the Son and by the Spirit, then they are precious and sweet before God.