My heart is in a constant game of tug-o-war.
I love Yahweh. But His constant need for complete transparency is overwhelming at least. His presence requires that I bare my soul. I am willfully wrecked each time I open my mouth and form words to Him, I sign up for discomfort and flesh-destruction.
My hands shake and my heart pounds in my chest when I fall to my knees because I know, I just know that His light is going to expose everything I want to keep covered. I am going to be stripped naked.
Surrender feels like euphoric anguish.
I experience complete relief and agony simultaneously. My heart wants to avoid the part of intimacy that hurts – the face to face encounter with my brokenness, the complete awareness of my need, the magnitude of my sinful nature. But the other part of my heart, the part of me that looks like Him, the little piece of eternity He placed inside of me, it yearns for the embrace. It bypasses the pain and craves the unfathomable peace that will follow. It does not care that I will be naked for a moment because it knows I will then be showered in love and truth, and clothed with righteousness afterward. It knows that just around the bend of pain is the wealth of knowledge and wholeness. And like a junkie, it craves it often.
So you see the battle. My heart yearns for Him, yet it runs from Him. I seek Him, yet I wish to remain hidden. I love Him, yet I ignore Him. Because sometimes it feels like He asks for too much. Complete honesty. Complete surrender. No half steps or cut corners. No almosts or nearly there’s. He won’t leave me alone. He wants all of me. And with each encounter, I feel compelled to give Him a little more of me, no, I have to give Him more of me. Because no matter how much I think I have surrendered, there’s always more of me to give. Being born in sin and shaped in iniquity means that we all have parts of ourselves that we have unknowingly squirreled away and seek to conceal. It means that there are pockets of unrest that lie in dark corners in our hearts and heads. It means that there are parts of us that we have both knowingly and unknowingly locked away. And it means that we will spend every moment of our lives until the day we die surrendering to Him.
When we grant Yahweh access to us, when we fling open the doors and ask the Holy Spirit to walk our halls, to cleanse us, to move furniture and rip down curtains, to flip tables and set things on fire, when we ask Him to root us up, He has a habit of doing it and then standing in front of locked doors and asking, “what about this room?”
He is relentless in His pursuit of all of us. He will not stop with some, He desires ALL. His love cannot be stopped, it won’t be smothered or pressed down, once you let Him in, He will not stop until you’ve granted Him access to every single place you try to keep to yourself. Your house becomes His home, and there will be no secrets in His home. There will be no hidden thing, no off-limit domains, no dark places. He will not stop asking until you invite Him into every crook, crevice, and corner that you deemed only yours. He will not intrude, but He will not leave unless you kick Him out. He will not stop searching you, and it won’t feel good, but He won’t let you cry alone either.
That’s what prayer is. Prayer is inviting Yahweh to take control of more and more of the real estate of your heart and life. In prayer you surrender the deed to all you own. In prayer you turn over complete control to Yahweh. In prayer, you directly access the throne room of heaven and petition the only one who can help you.
This is why prayer changes things. Because it’s not just an action, it opens a portal. When you pray you step foot on the bridge that Yahshua’s broken body built and close the gap that man’s fall opened. When you pray, you walk the halls of your mind hand in hand with the master Architect. You hear first-hand what you’re made of and what you were built for. When you pray you speak to your completion, you encounter your true self, you engage eternity.
So press in prayer. This doesn’t always mean getting louder or crying harder, it means increased honesty and a new level of surrender. Pressing means pushing past the curtains that self-preservation has hung and revealing what lies behind. Pushing past the curtain is always a deeply visceral experience for me. I always leave sweaty and snotty because I can never get over the feeling of freedom that surrender brings after the terror of falling passes, or the security of being caught after I take the leap.
I always know when my heart is running. The longer I wait to talk to Him, the more distracted I become. I always know when I’m going into hiding because my appetites change. I become more frivolous, more unsteady, less focused, more feeling-led.
I know when I’m hiding from Him.
I feel like Eve all over again – weakly and desperately attempting to cover myself with leaves. I attempt to encourage myself with logic and earthly insight instead of with the Words He spoke over me. I attempt to find pleasure and peace in good things that I end up abusing in my broken state. Good things were meant to reinforce not fully support. They were meant to help uphold our houses of faith, not be the foundation that they sit on. The leaves were a good thing, but they weren’t meant to cover Adam and Eve.
Prayer strips away the leaves – relationships, hobbies, work, rest, food – all good things that can be abused. Yahweh’s presence puts things back in their proper places. He reinstates order in our lives. He rectifies areas of dysfunction and points out good things that we have abused in our attempt to hide from Him.
The Bible instructs us to pray unceasingly. Prayer initiates change, constant prayer means constant change. Constant change requires complete reliance on Yahweh, because there will come a point where we become someone we didn’t envision, someone we don’t fully understand. It is in prayer that Yahweh whispers your identity over you. It is in prayer that He lets you in on who you were created to be.
Prayer creates an atmosphere of worship. And worship is the tool that Yahweh has given to all of humanity to overcome. Your worship is your weapon.
So it stands to reason that this is why the enemy does not want us to pray. A prayerful you is an alert you, it is an informed you. A prayerful heart is not easily deceived or bound. A prayerful heart is close to Yahweh, and when things are close to Yahweh, they are not easy to attack. A prayerful heart is a discerning heart, a peaceful heart, a loving heart.
When we pray, Heaven hears and responds. When we pray, we remind Yahweh of what life was like when He walked with us in the Garden of Eden. When we pray, we lay hold of the inheritance that is rightfully ours.
So pray, unceasingly. Pray until you cannot help but be completely honest in your conversations with Yahweh. Pray until He has made Himself at home in every room of your mind. Pray until He has served an eviction notice on every imposter and parasite that resides in your life. Pray until you don’t recognize yourself anymore, but you feel more like yourself than you ever have.
Pray until tears run down your cheeks because His love feels that real to you. Pray until what was figment is now palpable. Pray until your faith increases – until what felt like walking on water now feels like running on pavement. Pray until His sweet aroma of peace and wholeness fill your lungs and permeate your being. Pray until your spirit soars above the desires of your flesh and of this world. Pray until you are free of shame and free of guilt. Pray until your heart and soul shake off the chains.
When good things call you away to be distracted, pray.
When the wind and waves are threatening to destroy you, pray.
When you want to run and hide inside yourself and choose the comfort of dishonesty over the anguish of truth…PRAY.