Jesus does not want us to just medicate our pain. He wants us to process it with him in order to heal it. Since God can handle the rawest form of who we are, why not learn to pray honest prayers today?
Hey, I'm Josh Hallmark. And I want to thank you for listening to one of the Oaks podcasts. Remember this message from Isaiah chapter 61. God takes the seeds of brokenness and turns them in the Oaks of righteousness, and that's you.
I want to talk to you guys about honest prayer. I've actually been hitting this some this week, or we've been talking about it at chapel at The Oaks School this week. But this is actually a specific sliver that I'd like to talk about. And let me just start out by just just kind of being honest with you guys.
I had a conversation with Tony Wakefield, does anybody remember who that is? He is a speaker that we've had come in during the The Oaks interactive during the shutdown. We interviewed him or I interviewed him on one of our, you know, our Facebook deals. And anyway, he has become a good friend, to me and mentor, he is a fatherly type. He's very, very kind. I told ginger, just this past week describing him is that he It feels like healing staff. When I talked to him, he just is he's one of those guys. It's just really, um, I don't know, he is present. He's real. He's, he's present. That's one of the best ways I know to say it is that you feel him when you're talking to him. And he said something to me that it really challenged me. So I was telling him about what was going on my life. And I just started talking. And he said, Josh, I'm really, really sad for you right now. Because you seem like you're in distress. So he said to me, and it seems like that you're really out of touch with your own heart, or something. He said something like that. He said, You seem like you have parts of yourself that you just don't like, you don't lie, and which is totally true. You know, sometimes I act especially towards my kids, in ways that I'm not how did that that you know, because of pressure in life, things just like, um, you know, you hurt the people closest to you. That's just by nature, you know? And, anyway, sometimes I look at what I become, and I'm just not, you know, there is conflict, right? The only thing I know to do is like, go to Jesus with it. And so, anyway, so this put me back in it, like reframe things for me, because you guys know, if you've been around very long, I really value the hearts one core values of our church, right? And for us to be healthy first to deal with our stuff to deal with our pain. But one thing that happens, I believe, is that we get busy and even me who values this stuff. I sometimes just press on. We're under pressure from life. I mean, we in general, okay, we're, we're under pressure from my, and look, you know, there was a dude was his name. I think it was Tyndale. He was one of the Bible translators, it might have been one of the other heroes of the faith. And he was translating the Bible into I'm just gonna make this up Swahili. He knows actually some South American, actually, I don't know where he was. But he took like two years to work on learning their language, so that he could begin translating the Bible into their language, big, big Feat. And then right before he was finished with his first translation, in this language, the whole village caught on fire, his whole house caught on fire, and burned everything he had done. And, um, and he said this phrase, maybe you guys have heard this story before. He said, I have the gift of prod. That means I'm gonna get up, and I'm gonna start working tomorrow. And I'm just going to keep going. And he did he translated, you know, I think it was 10 days, which end up having this huge publishing company, but it started out in honor of a man who had a great heart to translate the scripture into languages that did not have the Bible. Anyway, this is a noble quality to have. It's faithfulness. Like I've said many years, I'm not going to quit. I remember when I was about About 20 years old, I had this real season of disillusionment with Jesus. And I said, Lord, I don't know which way is up, but I'm not going to quit. This was, this was my plea. So I say all that to say, the gift of prod is a good thing. And we do want to press off, we want to carry on. But I would like to present an alternative to that thought is that we have to have moments where we're not just pushing through, but we're actually aware of what's going on inside of us. And I want us to come to a place where we're aware enough of what's going on in us that we can turn it into an honest prayer to the living God, do you guys think that God actually knows about what's going on in your life, he has no illusions about you. He knows the things that you do, whether it's work, or drugs, or sex, or alcohol, or whatever you use to numb the pain of where you are. He knows all about that. And he actually still loves you, which is amazing. And so if we're gonna be real people, we're gonna have to pray some real prayers, right? And that's what we're going to do. And some of us I would say, Look, I know some of you guys are not touchy feely kind of people. And but some of you are not because you're shut down, you're completely out of touch with yourself. And so here we are. November first, Rob's favorite month, and we're gonna go there. Okay, so let's just go there for just a minute. I've got a verse for you. And this is Psalm 51. When I first read this verse years ago, it's a verse it kind of became my mantra, to become an authentic person. There was something about this verse that really, really challenged me It says, Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. I think the King James version of this says, you desire truth in the inward parts. And you said that when we say inward parts, so in other words, the Lord doesn't just want there to be truth that you're living your life by, but he actually wants truth to be on the inside of you. You guys know what integrity means? When we think of integrity, we think of doing what's right. But integrity is more than just doing what's right. Integrity means that what something portrays itself as that it actually is, it has integrity, like, I'm a, like an airplane, aircraft. So my grandfather was an aircraft mechanic, and then my uncle was an aircraft mechanic, and there is there, you know, there's very, very, very specific, specific, I'm sorry, this is gonna send them specific specifications. What's the term they use? in manufacturing tolerance, there's a small tolerance for this. So an aircraft that has integrity, has integrity, it the integrity means that it is what it was designed to be. There is integrity, or let me throw another metaphor, gold. 24 karat gold. It's stamped. My fingers are getting bigger over time. Okay. If it's Stan, I don't know if this is I'm actually not sure what carat This is supposed to be. And I don't have my glasses on. But, um, let's just say 14 carat if it's, if it says 14 carat. And then it's measured. If it has integrity, it carries the carrot that it says it is Does that make sense? That's what integrity is. So integrity is not just an ideal that we say. But it's an ideal that we say that we've actually embraced on the inside of us. And so God is interested in there being truth in here. And another way to say it is what if we had absolute honesty in the inward parts? Where that we're not just trying because what we do we try to make yourself look good, right? Ladies put some makeup on this morning. You know, we try to present our best, you know, Ford. JOHN has probably got about 20 beanies, and he took time to pick out the best one, right? Absolutely. We want to, you know, I had a shirt that I tried on before this one. I'm not gonna lie. It was a little bit snug and so on. I picked this one out. So we want to present our best foot forward. But we want to have truth on the inward parts. And it comes from being boldly. Honest. So number one, if you're going to have honest prayer, then you're going to have to be honest. And and here's this this verse again. And I love this translation. This is contemporary English version. It says in Psalm 51, six, but you want complete honesty. So Teach me True Vision. By the way, this is the song where David was actually praying to God in repentance, about his relationship with Bathsheba and his, and him committing murder. That's what he was praying in this. And he was asking God to forgive him if saying, God really have sinned against you and you alone. He's trying to make everything clear. But he says this right there in the beginning is that you desire, complete honesty, you desire truth, in the N word part. And I love this. And let me just say this, guys, when it comes to telling God about where you are, and understanding where you are, there is a, okay, we we live by faith, not by feelings, right? We walk by faith. So sometimes we have to ignore our feelings. Because we're saying, No, this is what the scripture says. And I believe that y'all know that I practice that we make declarations over our life. But there is a place where we don't just declare what we know is true. But we declare actually, what is true about how we feel. And you will see this in Scripture, I listen to this whole sermon this week, I listened. And I actually did a teaching on this not too long ago. And um, but it was called Job's lament. And it was actually actually the title was lamenting your way to freedom. And you guys remember, I did a talk, it's actually on our website called mourning whale, or grieving? Well, Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn for they show, be comforted. And we talked about this idea of getting in touch with our loss, so that we can move to comfort, there's a process that we go to, and that Jesus will actually take that journey with us. But I'm seeing more of a precedent for this in Scripture, not actually, I bumped into a verse. And to be honest with you, this is Psalm 25. On the 26th of October, I accidentally went to the 25th, I think, or something, and I read this, but it totally fit what I was talking about. And actually, I was just praying. And I flipped to this, but I felt like it gave me a voice for part of what I was wanting to say. And I'm, and before you read it, just let me say this. There are examples in the Scripture, like Abraham, against faith believed, like Sarah couldn't have children, but he believed the promise of God. So you've got to know there's a place for you completely. Ignore the circumstances. And you say, I'm believing what God said, no matter what. So I want you to know that but there is another place where absolute honesty about how you feel is still there. The way that David often did it, is he would start out with his complaint, and he would just complain to the Lord, but then he would end in another place. We'll talk more about that. But Job said, Excuse me, he said, cursed is the day that I was born. That sounds kind of sad, doesn't it? Come on Joe, just like get over it, bro. He actually had great loss. He had a great lost, he lost his kids. He lost all his fortune. He lost everything. And after sitting in silence for about seven days or something like that, then he starts expressing himself very, very honestly. And he complains to himself he complains to the Lord then you know, he's accused by his friends that makes it all better doesn't and um, anyway in Yeah, so not to get off topic there. But I'm Joe. Eight he, he communicated that you know, most of job is ultimate. You guys know there's a whole book of the Bible called limitations. Not that many is the book of crying, right? The Book of sadness, and the expression of sadness in Jeremiah? Um, he said and limitations, pour out your heart, like water in the presence of the Lord. That sounds like an honest type prayer, doesn't it? Pour in your heart out? Oh, god, this is where I am. This is how I feel. I understand that we are not led by our feelings. We walk by faith. But I want you to understand something else, that the scripture actually gives a legitimate place for how you feel. Because your feelings actually have a voice. You may take some interesting, you know, that conversation I told you about with Tony. Tony's like, Listen, there's this counselor in Nashville named chip Dodd and he's a part of this group called Sage he'll Frump then say to group or something. And I'm like, Who is that? And he's like, it was a school thought you know, about the heart and how the heart has feelings. And those feelings actually give a voice to what's going on with you. So if you can trace a feeling back, you actually find where it hurts. And you can deal with it. from a place of honesty, instead of just being busy. Or instead of medicating your pain, you can actually deal with your pain. And this is what I'm talking about. Instead of medicating where you are, deal with the root of where you are. This is the stuff that makes us real people. This is the stuff and I'll tell you about Tony, you guys know that Tony has a very, very dear had a very difficult childhood where his father beat him. His father was a pastor who was really mean to him. He had one look at church and a completely different life at home. It was really awful in so many ways. But why is he so emotionally present? Is because he's been willing to go there. You juxtapose that to a guy that I mentored years ago, and he's like, Josh, honestly, I just don't feel anything. And I think it's probably because he was so shut down as a child, right? Anyway, that's no story. But I want you to see this path out. And it's through raw honesty. Look at this. This is David. And this is us, we get to peek in on David's prayer time, right? David liked this prayer so much that he turned it into a song, okay. And so this is what he said. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I'm lonely and afflicted. relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress. And take away all my sins. See how numerous my enemies are and how fiercely they hate me. guard my life and rescue me. And do not let me be put to shame. For I take refuge in You. My integrity and uprightness protect me. Because my hope Lord is in you. And that Psalm 2517 through 21. So let me just throw something out here. David was busy. He was a king who had a lot of responsibility. He was a warrior. He had a lot going on. So we can't use the excuse. I'm just too busy to deal with my pain. I'm too busy to get in touch with my heart. And David himself, what does he say? Look at look at these expressions of feelings. I mean, do you really get this? Look? Oh my goodness. He says I'm lonely. He's talking about how he feels. Look, guys, men of the O's. David was a man's man. Okay. He was a renaissance man. He was the athlete. He was the brain who is the artist? He was the singer. He was like the whole package right? He was a man's major warrior. He killed Philistines and brought their four skins to Saul. The dude was bad. Okay. I'm just telling you. And here he is. It all Bible also says a man after God's own heart and he's he Expressing I guess what I'm wanting you to know, is this is not about masculine, feminine. This is about integrity. Inside and outside. Davey says I'm lonely. He said, I'm afflicted, I am anguished. And I'm distressed. So if you're going to pray an honest prayer, as to start out with you actually thinking about how you feel, right? And then you have to say it right? You have to say it to God. When you're in a place of honesty about where you are, you got to stop. You can't know where you are, unless you stop and reflect on it just a little bit. And I'm just telling you, David was busier than us. And he stopped. Think about AI high, high level. person, the government, I've been watching, Designated Survivor, it really throws you you're in the throes of all that's happening is this decision, this decision, this decision, this decision, there's pressure from every side. But David was in that position, that top level position. And he took the time to get in touch with where he was. And he took enough time to actually communicate it to the Lord. And how did he start that prayer? He's like, God, be gracious to me. God help. God help. And here's the greatest thing about this, is it's one thing for you to get in touch with your pain. But if, if that's all you got, that I must accept pain, but when you got to build a give it to the one that can help you. Sometimes I just think about, like, how messed up I am. I don't know how to say it. Just I just think, man, Jesus, I just want to please you. And I'm, like, I get afraid. Sometimes I get stressed. Sometimes I get like, I get I get afraid. And I don't know why. Like, I don't know, you know, I don't know why it's like what was going on? I mean, sometimes I think it's just demonic. Right? But I'm like, I don't know, where was I go on that. I'm sorry. Oh, I was gonna say, if that's all you get to, that's not very good. You got Oh, this is the thought okay, I'm sorry. It took me a second to get back around there. Thinking about just my own life and think about the junk that goes on your head. Okay. Think about how you you know the voices are just put your how you put yourself down. And you know, we're like your moments you're like, come on, Rob. I want to understand that the Lord doesn't do that he is at his heart. His heart is whole more than anybody in the whole universe. He is intact and healthier than anybody. So when we come into our Come on Rob's those moments or come on Holly, come on, you know better than do that. When we have those moments with ourself. We can know that God he is he is perfect, right? But he's not just perfect. He's whole and we can go to him for help. He is the one that can help us. And so we must ask, God can't answer prayer that you don't pray. So ask him for help. God help me. And then here's the last one is at that point, you want to move towards hope? Here's the thing you know, this is actually something that I nabbed from that little talk that I heard on Job's lament. Is that despair without hope? I'm sorry. lament without hope leads to despair. But lament with with hope actually leads it leads you to a new place. Hope is that force that causes you to keep going. Right? If there is no hope there is no progress. You don't move forward unless there's hope just fundamentally. And so in this is what David was so good at. And guys, it's not just job. It's not just David. You guys remember Hannah? How she was pouring her heart out. so deeply that it looked like she was drunk. Eli, the priest thought she was drunk. And she's like, No, no, no, I'm just pouring out my heart because I can't have a child. She was brokenhearted, over not being able to have a child. I'm Moses. He's somebody else that he was like, God, just go ahead and kill me. And Elijah was another prophet, a powerful man of God. And Elijah felt like he was the only one he felt lonely, right? He said, God, just go ahead and take me now. Guys, this is this is this is pretty hot when they talk like that as a pretty high level of despair. But here's the neat thing. And this is what David modeled so well for us, is that he would always end with this, like, you'd be like, God, where are you? You've abandoned armies. You're nowhere to be found. You're hiding from me. And then he ends, but you are true, and you are trustworthy, and our hope in the Lord, and that's exactly what he says here uses phrases like this. And he's like, God, I feel afflicted, I'm feeling distressed. This sounds depressing, doesn't. I feel I'm, I feel distressed, I'm an anguish. But then he goes, and he says, oh, but because my hope Lord is in you. He, he brings it back to that place is our hope in the Lord. And so here's what I want you to do. We've got about 15 minutes until 12, will you give me 15 minutes? Actually, we've got 18 minutes, but it's gonna take me three minutes to get ready. Jonathan has a in Bridgette they have a handout. And what I want to do is I want to actually do an exercise where we practice. While they're doing that, I forgot to tell you guys this. Um, so Tony mentioned this guy, Chip Dodd who does say two resources, the school of thought. And last night, I think ginger. order books by hammers, I went home, Ginger had ordered two books. And he'd like written three books. This is called the voice of the heart, I highly recommend it. The voice of the heart by chip dog. But Tony mentioned that to me at that conversation, I went home and the dang book is sitting on the desk. Is that crazy? Or what? As a coincidence, neither. Anyway. So the part that I'm about to show you actually came from this book. So there should be a pin in front of you. What we're gonna do, is, we're gonna practice a little bit, okay. So what I'll do first is, I want to introduce you guys some feelings. And this will help you I mean, we could have just borrowed some of David's and some others. But here's some feelings. Here's some ways that you might feel. And these actually are coming from this book. And I don't have time to like, unpack these. And so let me just let you look at them. see on the screen, there's hurt, there's lonely, they're sad. There's mad. There's fear, guilt, or shame. And there's glad. And his idea and maybe I can just whet your appetite for this book. His idea is those eight feelings actually, are giving something in your heart that has been shut down a voice. And that you can track those, like a tapestry that pulling a string on a tapestry. And it'll lead you back to a place of what we might call emotional honesty, or just being honest with God. And that's the place where he can actually heal you. Jesus can enter into that spot with you. And you can share that with with him. Instead of medicating that. So here's the difference. And Jesus, Jesus does not want to medicate your pain. He wants to heal it. Jesus wants to heal it. Amen. All right. So those are feelings, you see those and hear your needs that we have. We have like, basically, this book, what this book is saying is we have legitimate, like we were created with the need for significance, or support, or attention or trust, or touch or the ability to agree. We were made with the ability to be nurtured, we have a need for freedom. We have a need for security, etc, etc. You can look down that list. And so what I thought I would do if you look I'm going to leave this slide up. If you'd rather look on the slide or you all these are present on your handout but we Here's where we want to get to honestly gonna turn some music on actually, I think Alan's got it back in the bat. But we're gonna just turn some music on. And I just want to encourage you to take a few minutes and close your eyes so we have 15 minutes to do this. And this is where we're gonna get to Lord I feel is going to the field is gonna, we're gonna pull that from the feelings list that you have right? And then we're gonna go to the Lord I want to feel this is where I want to be, Lord, this is the need that I have in my life. Do you guys know that all the names of God, all the Jehovah Jarrah, Jehovah nisi Jehovah sick canoe, all of those names are related to human need. You ever thought about that before? That God revealed himself to humanity in relationship to your need? What is Jehovah Rafa, The Lord is my healer, Jehovah sick and the LORD is my righteousness. Jehovah Jarrah, The Lord is my provider. This all is in relationship to human needs. A God is not afraid of your need. But you've got to be bold enough in his love, believing His love, that he's good that he actually wants to meet you in the place of your name. So, Lord, I feel blank, I want to feel blank. Can you help me with that? Now, here's what I want you to do. Instead of just praying that prayer, I want you to take a few minutes, let's just say five minutes. And I want you to think about where you are, you can just close your eyes will turn the music. And I want you to let your heart rest and get settled enough to where you're actually thinking about how you feel right now. Like, once you settle in, you might feel angry. Look, that's okay. You can feel anger in church, okay? Anger often points to something where there was an injustice. The Bible doesn't say don't be angry, just don't sin in your anger. But anger is actually not a bad thing. You might feel hurt because you were hurt. The fact is, is that sin in the world has consequences, and it hurts other people. So we are hurt by our sin, we're hurt by other people's sin. It's okay. For you to admit that you're hurt. We're not gonna stay there. But you got to know that you are there. So let's take about five minutes to think about this is the question you're answering the first five minutes. Where am I? How do I feel and Lord I just pray Holy Spirit. You're the spirit of truth. I pray in this next five minutes, Lord that you would help move us towards honesty move will help us to see what it is. You see when it comes to what's going on with us right now. In Jesus name. For more information about The Oaks, visit theoaks.org, thanks for listening .