(This is part two of a two-part email). To read part one, click here.)
For me, to get to the level of Bottom Line Praying required deep honesty: “God, I feel like You let me down and I’m afraid of what it will do to my faith.” “God, if I’m honest, it’s more than just the marriage, I’m afraid of losing everything – my reputation, my ministry, feeling like I don’t measure up any more.” “God, I’m afraid my future is over before it starts and I’m having a hard time trusting You.” That was a different kind of praying for me. It went beyond the obvious Top Line Prayers of my marriage being a mess to the level of my deepest insecurities and fears, which difficult circumstances always bring to the surface if you let them. But it’s that Bottom Line Praying honesty that brings clarity to what is really going on in your heart. And Jesus in essence is saying through the writing of Paul, “Bring that honesty to me, come to me, trust me with those emotions. I know about your circumstances (job, your marriage, your adult son), but what are you REALLY anxious and fearful about beneath it all?” Getting honest has the power to change everything.
Here’s the promise from Jesus through Paul in Philippians 4:7 when we start to pray Bottom Line Prayers: “And the peace of God (not your changed circumstances), which transcends all understanding (it goes beyond what you thought was possible with what you’re facing), will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. “Guard” literally means to “stand watch of your heart, mind and emotions”. Your circumstances may not change right now, but the promise is that at the level of your deepest fear and insecurity Jesus says, “I’ll stand guard over your future, fear of failure, reputation, your faith, your dreams”. But Jesus also says, “You have to have the honesty to come to Me with your anxiety and fear because I can’t guard what you haven’t acknowledged”.
So, here’s the deal. A lot of us have never been honest enough to pray Bottom Line Prayers and expose what is really going on in our hearts. So, let me ask you…What are you REALLY afraid of?
· I’m afraid of being rejected.
· I’m scared I’ll never find love.
· If I say no to this opportunity, I don’t know if I can live with it.
· My faith may be lost if God gives me a no.
· I feel like I can’t survive this divorce and feel like a whole person.
· I feel like I’m falling behind in life and missing out and it’s hard to trust.
· I’m terrified others won’t see me as important.
· If I fail at this, I’m afraid of being rejected or abandoned by people who love me the most.
Maybe what you’re walking through right now, that you’d never choose, is the circumstance God wants to use to lead you to be honest about you and honest with God.
The promise of peace is contingent on our Bottom Line Prayers being real and honest in a way that goes to the level of our deepest insecurities. It’s hard, but that’s where peace collides with your anxiety and although the circumstance may not change, your heart will. Praying your deepest fears and anxieties allows you to fully surrender those thoughts and feelings to Jesus and to trust that no matter what happens, He will be with you and will guide you and will give you peace and strength to face whatever lies ahead.
Here’s what Jesus is inviting us into: “Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I’ll give you rest”. He is saying, “I’ll stand watch over your greatest fears and anxieties. Give me your honesty and vulnerability and I’ll give you My peace.”
Are you ready to get honest with you and with God?