Someone once outlined for me how to pray. It was an easy acronym to remember: Praise, Repent, Ask, Your will (submitting to His will instead of our own, even after petitioning for what we want). And sometimes this helps, to remember that prayer isn't all about my requests and desires, but also about praising and thanking the One who is making all things possible for me.
But sometimes prayer doesn't fit into that neat outline. Sometimes prayer is just an honest admission of the state of our hearts. Sometimes that means admitting the ugly truth of our mistrust and unfaithfulness, and asking our Father to find us there, meet us there, and cover those places with grace.
I ended a prayer one night with this request: Can You meet me here?
Here was a place mistrust. Disappointment. Frustration. Doubt. Here were all of these burdens that reflected my blinded perception of who my God is to me.
Can You meet me here?
Can indicates the ability to do something. Can God meet me here, in the moments when I don't trust Him, when I am unfaithful to Him, when I don't deserve any grace to see Him?
Absolutely. He is the Creator of the Universe. He is holding the whole world in His hands. He was, He is, and He is to come. Surely, He can meet me here.
The question then is not can He, but will He?
And the answer remains the same: He absolutely will. You see, God doesn't want us to be in those places of mistrust and unfaithfulness anymore than we want to be there.
We can ask God to meet us where we are, no matter how dark or messy that place might be, because He has promised us time and time again that He is never far from us to begin with.
Deuteronomy 4:29 - But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. (ESV)
Acts 17:27-28 - He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist. (HSCB)
And one of my new favourite verses, from the chapter titled Promise of Restoration in Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’" Jer 33:2-3 (NIV).
He is not only offering to meet us here, He has already promised to find us and be there waiting for us before we even ask. All we have to do is ask.
He doesn't outline anything we need to do before we can come back to Him, He doesn't stipulate how far we can run before we are too far gone.
He promises to meet us here, in our darkest moments of lacking trust in His ability to do so. He promises to meet us here, in our ugliest moments of needing His faithfulness even when we are unfaithful. He promises to meet us here and bear the burdens we so often cause for ourselves, because He loves us too much to let us go all the way.
You will never be let go all the way.
So free yourself up to pray those prayers of brutal honesty. Find yourself at the foot of the cross asking for grace you know you don't deserve, and know that that grace has already been poured out for you.
Because grace comes alive in this truth: even when we doubt and cannot find it in ourselves to believe, we serve a God faithful and compassionate enough to meet us here and move us from unbelief to belief, doubt to trust.
He'll meet you here, today, tomorrow, and every day to come.