Tell God How You Really Feel

Do you want to have an amazing relationship with God? Would you like to pray as the psalmists did? Would you like to connect on a gut level with the Almighty through your prayers? Though we can learn numerous things from the psalmists, perhaps the greatest lesson is to be honest with God.

I don’t just mean tell the truth. I don’t just mean if you did it, confess it. I mean be rigorously honest about our emotions. Tell God how you really feel.

The most repeated genre of the psalms is the lament or the complaint. These psalms contain statements such as:

“Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?”—Psalm 10:1.

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”—Psalm 13:1-2.

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.”—Psalm 22:1-2.

Many of us have felt these same feelings, but we would think we were blaspheming if we said them. The psalmists did not fear this. They were honest about how they felt and they took it to God.

Perhaps we fear angering God. That is how we deal with each other sometimes. We are so afraid someone will get upset if we tell them how we really feel we just keep it on the inside. God is not like us. We can trust Him with our feelings. We don’t have to manage His feelings. Just read the psalms and discover God wants us to bring this to Him. He doesn’t want us bottling it up inside where it will poison our faith. He wants us expressing it and getting it out so we can get back to relying on our faith in Him, just as the psalmists repeatedly did.

Of course, anger is not the only emotion in the psalms. There is fear, despair, joy, happiness, loneliness, shame, guilt, hope, etc. Many scholars search in vain for some kind of order to the psalms. They are surprised the laments are lumped together and the praises aren’t together in a pile. I think the reason is because the psalms mirror life. Today, I may be overjoyed, while tomorrow something may anger me or depress me. The psalms are a mix of all these. But their number one lesson is don’t hide what you are really feeling from God. Think of it this way, in reality, He already knows. You can’t really hide it from Him. You might as well share it with Him. Be honest with God.

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Praying the Psalms

I’ve been studying the Psalms a lot lately, especially with emphasis on how they guide us in our own prayer lives. I came across this interesting quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

The only way to understand the Psalms is on your knees, the whole congregation praying the words of the psalms with all its strength.”

This quote challenged me. Maybe I should pray the psalms. However, I didn’t want to just read them in prayer. So, I’ve started putting their sentiments into my own words and writing them down in a notebook. It really is awesome. I’ll show you a sample and then encourage you to do the same.

Psalm 1 Prayer

Oh God,

Let me not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Let me not stand in the way of sinners,
Let me not sit in the seat of scoffers.
I delight in your law, o Lord.
I meditate on it day and night.
Enlighten my mind with it that I may
walk in Your counsel,
stand in Your way,
sit in You.
Father, bless me by Your word that I may have abundant life as a tree planted by many waters.
Hold me up and let me stand in judgment, let me be in Your congregation.
Keep me, o Lord, establish my way and do not let it perish as the way of the wicked.

Amen

Try this sometime. Let me know how it goes.

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