by Rick Warren — August 31, 2021
From 40 Days of Prayer
“I poured out my heart, baring my soul to GOD."
Daniel 9:3 (The Message)
Or how about, “Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies”?
Most people have prayed these well-known prayers at some point. But what do they mean? And do we really mean them?
So often we go through the motions of prayer, reciting words from memory and checking something off our list before moving on to the next thing.
God is not looking for prayers with no emotion or authenticity. He doesn’t care if you can deliver words someone else made up. God doesn’t care how beautiful your prayer sounds. In fact, he doesn’t even care as much about the words as he does the emotions behind them.
Whatever you are asking God for in prayer—whether it’s a physical, material, spiritual, or emotional need—express your desire with emotion. That’s what pleases God.
When Daniel needed God’s wisdom for how to direct the Israelites, he “prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him” (Daniel 9:3 GNT). Pleading means to ask with emotion. It’s more than a routine request. It’s serious seeking and searching with all your heart and earnestly begging. God listens to our pleas.
The Message paraphrase of this verse says, “I poured out my heart, baring my soul to GOD.”
This is not wimpy praying. This is gutsy praying. When was the last time you prayed like that?
I can tell you, without even knowing you personally, that the last time you prayed like that was when you were in deep pain. You don’t pour out your heart to God like that when things are going great. You pour out your heart to God and plead with him when you are in pain.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t fill all your prayers with emotion. As you look around at what is going on in our world, your heart will break for the things that break the heart of God. He is an emotional God, and he responds to your emotions with love.
Pour out your heart to God today. It will draw you closer to him and deepen your faith as you see how he answers your prayers.