Heartfelt, Honest Prayer
“God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)
“The most powerful prayer I have ever offered was the shortest,” said Joni Eareckson Tada. “After three depressing years of suicidal despair over my paralysis, I prayed- God, if I can’t die, show me how to live, please!"
Things didn’t change overnight, but with that simple prayer my outlook began to change. I realised I had to take responsibility and face reality head on. With God’s help, I would have to learn how to do the impossible – handle life in a wheelchair.
And did God help! It’s been said that faith may move mountains, but prayer moves God. I’m convinced the Lord was touched deeply by my short simple prayer. Why? Because I pushed myself out of the way in order to rely on his Spirit; and I told him the honest truth about my desperate desire to live.”
We might not have the strength to say much more to God than a simple prayer like Joni. God is not looking for a lot of fancy words. He simply wants you to approach him in spirit and in truth. That means heartfelt honesty.
In 2017 Joni Eareckson Tada reflected on 50 years of God’s faithfulness after a diving accident in 1967 left her a quadriplegic. She is an author, (she has written 45 books) a Christian conference speaker and an international advocate for people with disabilities.
“Now, every day when I wheel into the Joni and Friends International Disability Centre, I try to squeeze every ounce of ministry effort from my quadriplegic body. This summer, Joni and Friends will hold 27 family retreats in the United States and 23 in less resourced nations, reaching thousands of special needs families for Christ. Christian physical therapists will serve on our Wheels for the World teams in more than 40 countries, delivering Bibles, giving the Salvation message, and hand – fitted wheelchairs to needy people with disabilities. Hundreds of our Cause4Life interns will work in orphanages overseas, showing that spina bifida isn’t a voodoo curse and people aren’t better off dead than disabled. Because Jesus is ecstasy beyond compare, and it’s worth anything to be his friend.”
At a Joni and Friends Family Retreat a volunteer approached Joni and gestured to the crowd and asked, “Miss Joni, do you ever think how none of this would be happening were it not for your diving accident?” “It has everything to do with God and his grace,” says Joni, “not just grace over the long haul, but grace in tiny moments, like breathing in and out, like stepping stones leading from one experience to the next. The beauty of such grace is that it eclipses the suffering until one morning, you look back and see five decades of God working in a mighty way. Grace softens the edges of past pains, what you are left with is peace that is profound, joy that’s unshakeable, faith that’s ironclad.”
We may not change overnight after we offer a prayer in heartfelt honesty, but change, we will. When we approach God in spirit and in truth, we touch his heart, and move him in a special way.
When you offer your earnest prayer to him, mean it wholeheartedly! Then watch your outlook change. You just might start living the impossible.