By Brenda Black
Charles Spurgeon once said that true prayer is:
“an inventory of needs, a catalog of necessities, an exposure of secret wounds and a revelation of hidden poverty.”If you think about it, the needs urge us to seek God's help. When we count only what is necessary, useless pursuits seem less important. The hurts help us depend on God. The acknowledgement of our impoverished condition compels us to long for the Lord's riches. True prayer humbles us, challenges us, comforts us and completes us. I believe the fiery preacher got it right.
In times of need, a cry of prayer banishes the loneliness and fear. “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.” (Psalm 116:5-6)
I find it easier to be on the supplier end rather than the receiver when it comes to meeting needs. I'd rather fill a void instead of be devoid. It's hard to accept help because it blatantly exposes our desperate demand of it. But that is exactly what God wants us to see – our absolute dependency on the Almighty. Self-sufficiency is a certain path to despondency. The more we rely on our own strength, ability, power, knowledge or any other claim of superiority, the farther we fall from true wisdom and adeptness.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.'” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31) True prayer humbles us.
True prayer challenges us to discern between pleasure only or our only purpose. We're not here to work and get rich or pilfer our lives away at play. We're not here to be model parents or rich and famous celebrities. God didn't create man only to fly to the moon or dive into the depths of the sea. He made man for His good pleasure and for fellowship. And he purposed that we live all our days with Him.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
We are here by design to worship the Lord willingly and lead others to the King of Kings. If you catalog your necessities, you might easily see that little is much in the eyes of the Lord. All he wants is our affections. And all we need is His love.
One beautiful aspect of prayer is its privacy. Without a word, without a witness, without any worry, I can send my deepest hurts or my greatest joys heavenward and be assured they reach the ears of my Lord. Every pain or horrifying sin will be seen and heard by the One who can mend broken hearts and permanently forgive. Prayer is a comfort greater than any soothing this world has to offer.
“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.” (Job 36:15)
Once we can accept that God cares for our needs, He clarifies what is necessary and He comforts those who weep, then it should be easy to understand that the Lord completes us. Apart from His great mercy, outside of His will, there exists a vast emptiness that many mortals have yet to recognize. In each of us there is a God-sized hole in need of a God filling. We are wretched and impoverished until we are complete in the Holy Spirit, covered by the blood and controlled by the one true God.
Let us pray: God, live in us and give us Your Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If we acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in us and we in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God, You are love. If we live in love, we live in You, and You in us. Your love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like You. Help us understand our need of You. Challenge us to live out your decree to go and reach the world. Hear the cry of our hearts and heal our secret wounds. And Lord, reveal just how very much we need you.