Why God Doesn’t Mind Your Messy Prayers


The other day I found one of my old journals in a box in the garage. So, I took it upstairs and sat on the floor while my kids played and I read through it.  I had written in that journal while I was in college. A time when I thought I was gonna marry a man who I never actually ended up marrying. And when I was scared of Y2K. (Yep, remember that?) And when the cafeteria playing rock music at lunch pretty much wrecked my day. (Yeah, I know. I was a little up tight.)

It was interesting and a little entertaining to read the thoughts I used to think and the fears I used to have. In some ways, I was encouraged. Because I could see how I’d overcome certain mindsets that were damaging to me and others.

In another way, I was annoyed with myself, because it didn’t seem like I’d made all that much progress in other areas of my life.

Either way, I just wanted to burn the thing. Because it brought back some old feelings. Feelings of anxiety and confusion and chaos.

For a couple days, I was a little wrecked. Because when I wrote those things, I was so certain that what I was believing was true. And that made me question, what about now? In another fifteen years, what will I shake my head at the things I’m believing and thinking now? How messed up may I actually be and not even know it? (Hey, don’t answer that.) : )

After a few days, though, I landed on some hopefulness.  Because one thing that did stick out to me were those prayers I’d prayed. And even though the prayers were messy and sometimes I was praying for all the “wrong” things, still, God knew my heart. He always knew my heart. He knew how much I loved Him. Or wanted to love Him. And He knew that I intended to trust Him with everything.


The other day, as I was traveling down an old country road and praying about some things, God spoke to me. Not like with a big booming voice straight out of the sky, but there in the quietness of my own heart. He spoke in a form that I could recognize. When I saw a tree.

Maggie, He seemed to say, think about that tree.

Well, I liked that tree. It was a little gnarled and bent and absolutely beautiful. It had seen a lot of bleak winters. And windy springs. And there were some days, when the weight of the elements would beat down hard and a branch would be overcome and break. But, one thing that tree never stopped doing was reaching up and stretching out. As if the longing for the light of the sun was greater than the constant pull of gravity on its outstretched limbs.

Sometimes, I think God just wants to affirm His children. He knows how much we try. How we really want to become something. Something good.  As I admired those branches that seemed like arms reaching up, and those limbs like little fingers feeling along for light, I caught a glimpse of how God sees the ones who intend to trust Him for everything.

Even though we stumble along here, we keep reaching up with everything in us.  Because we’re drawn to the glory of the Son and we’ve felt the warmth of His light. So, we don’t stop stretching out. We keep talking to Him and looking for Him. We keep seeking to find His light even where we doubt He’ll show up the most. Because in this, we are building relationship. And isn’t God always after relationship?

We get tripped up, yes, because we’ve still got sin to deal with.  And the weight of the world might leave us a bit twisted, perhaps. But really, can’t you see it? How, we’re becoming such beautiful things?

So, we can always land on some hopefulness. Because in reaching up the Light, there is a Someone who covers all our weaknesses and transforms our infirmities. There is a God who is patient with our prayers and will get us where we need to be, because He knows our hearts.

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)


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