"And when you pray , do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men." (Matthew 6:5, NIV)
We're friends right? Ok then, I'm going to share a story with you...I warn you that this is an extremely transparent story...so if you are quick to judge you may not want to read any further. This is an actual occurrence that took place in my life, I'm not proud of it...but it serves to illustrate a point of God's mercy and grace. It's the story of the time I cussed in the midst of prayer. Yep...you read it right...I CUSSED while praying...(Now that's one to be proud of.)
Ok...can I just say that I can't believe I am actually sharing this story with all of you...but here it goes.
Twleve years ago, while my husband and I were fishing out on the lake, a violent storm blew in without warning. As the storm clouds formed, and the wind started to blow, we quickly reeled in our fishing line and headed to shore. We drove as fast as we could and approached the dock.
Since I didn't know how to drive the boat or the trailer, my husband, Greg, jumped out of the boat, ran to shore, and instructed me to hold on to the end of the pier, while he backed up the trailer.
I locked my arms around the end of the pier, putting my puny little arms between the one inched spaced raggedy boards that were fastened to the end of the pier with old rusty nails. I held on desperately, both clutching so as not to be blown away from the pier, as well as pushing outward so the boat wouldn't crash against its edge. My arms tired quickly as the waves grew more and more violent.
As each wave crashed against the boat, I prayed Oh Jesus help me...Bruises and scrapes appeared on my arms almost immediately...the storm grew more violent...BUT I continued to hold on tightly...watching for my husband.
"OH Lord help me...I don't know how much longer I can hold on!" I continued to pray, pleading for strength as the waves tossed me and my husbands new bass boat back and forth.
"Oh Jesus help me!" I prayed again and again...and as I did...the edge of the rickety old pier began to come undone...one of the boards literally started to pull out of the end of the pier...And...in the midst of my prayer, "OH JESUS HELP ME" I accidentally interjected an explicative yelling out "OH @&#! Jesus HELP ME!"
Where in the world did that come from? I thought.
For a moment, I sat stunned at my vocabulary. When I realized what I had said I LAUGHED from the sheer embarrassment of it, and immediately repented, asking God for forgiveness for swearing...and you know what? SOMEHOW in the midst of that situation...in the midst of my profanity...God heard my prayer...the board locked back into position, securing my ability to hang on until and my husband arrived to safely position our boat up on the trailer.
God heard my prayer, looked past my foul speech, and answered my prayer. WOW...the mercy of God truly is amazing!
NOW lest you think I advocate foul language or a free license to sin...let me clarify...I am NOT endorsing that we use colorful language...nor should we knowingly practice sin and expect God to move inspite of our sin. HOWEVER...my point is that God is merciful. He looks past our sins to the intentions of our heart. He doesn't wait for us to be flawless before He hears and answers us. THANKFULLY!
Our HOPE is found in JESUS. It's because of HIS WORK on the CROSS that we can approach God's throne and know that HE HEARS us.
Hebrews 4:14-16 says, "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV)
Don't allow the enemy to lie to you. IT'S NOT about praying righteous enough prayers or being good enough...IT'S ALL ABOUT GOD, JESUS' work on the cross, and GOD's MERCY!
2 Chronicles 7:14-15 promises, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."(NIV)
So if you are hurting, lonely, or in desperate need...cry out to God and ask Him to intervene. Cry out to God today with full assurance that He hears you. Confess your sins. Ask for forgiveness. And let your requests be made known...And the God of all peace WILL comfort your heart...He will hear you...He will forgive...and He WILL HEAL YOUR LAND!
PRAYER: Father, thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You that we can come to You, share our needs with You, and know that YOU WILL intervene on our behalf. Thank You for being such a great Father. We put our hope and trust in You. In Jesus name, amen.