Monday, November 20, 2017

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It was one of those real short nights. I had just spoken for a large youth event, and the night went late for the best of reasons: God brought hundreds of young people to faith in Christ that night. The counseling of all those kids took a blessedly long time. Now Jason, who was one of the organizers, took me to my hotel that night and he told me he would be picking me up in a few hours for my very early morning flight. I said, "I'm sorry you have to get me so early when you've been up so late." He said, "Oh, don't worry. I'll just roll out of bed, throw on a baseball cap, and come on over." (Which, by the way, I think is the major reason there are baseball caps.) Well, bless his heart, that's just what he did. When we got to the airport, I asked him if we could pray together before I went on my plane. He respectfully took off his baseball cap, and we had a neat time of prayer. When I opened my eyes at the end, he still had his cap off. And a very creative hair style - I mean, it was all over the place! He even laughed about it. The cap covered what he didn't want anyone to see-except when he was praying.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Real You, Real Prayer."

Actually, prayer should be the time when we are willing to expose what we don't want anyone to see or know otherwise. It's meant to be the place where we can be 100% honest and 100% transparent. And when we are, some amazing things can happen.

Our word for today from the Word of God begins with Hebrews 4:13, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." In other words, there is no point in posing or role-playing when you're with God. He already knows your deepest feelings, your deepest failings, your deepest struggles. Our hat is always off in front of God, whether we take it off or not. He knows everything we cover up for other people. There's no point in trying to put a tie on for God if "everything is uncovered and laid bare before Him." Right?

Now we might worry about how God will respond if we really get real with Him. Well, listen to verse 15. "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." The Savior you're approaching is the one who has been here, who has been, while fully God, fully human. He gets us!

When God the Son was here, He experienced temptation from Satan himself. He experienced loneliness, abandonment, agonizing over God's will, grief, family tensions, homelessness, excruciating pain, even dying. So you come emotionally naked to one who has lived...not necessarily all your exact circumstances, but feelings very much like yours. You'll not shock Him with your struggles-He already knows. You won't be rejected for your feelings-He understands.

And when you come with the cover off, you leave with resources from God that can change everything. Hebrews 4:16: "Let us then (in other words, since we're going to a God who knows all about us, who has walked in our moccasins) approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

God wants to pour out His mercy and His grace on the hardest, hurtingest parts of your heart and life. But the real God will only help the real you. You don't come with your "cap off" to show God what He doesn't know about. You come totally exposed emotionally and spiritually because God will only help you with what you honestly open up to Him.

So when you're praying, don't come to God with the official you, with the image you show everyone else, with the dressed up, touched up, covered up you. Uncover in His presence what you can't uncover to anyone else. And let His grace; let His healing come pouring into the parts of your heart that need it the most.

Come like the old hymn says, "Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me."