In weekly team "devotions" at work, we're going through certain psalms and prayer with reference to them. Now we're on Psalm 137, entitled "Praying Our Hate." The psalm is beautiful lyrically, but ends in an awful note, asking God to do what others had done to them. While this may have justification in the old covenant, praying that God would avenge or punish victimizers as they had done to their victims, we find this changed in the new covenant in Jesus, so that we probably should at least be slow to pray down judgment, but should rather, pray down reconciliation, the reconciliation of God in Jesus, upon enemies. We do want God's intervention against all evil, but we also would like to see all evildoers repent and believe, and be reconciled to God and to others.
This leads me to the point I want to make in this post, beginning with a question: Is it good for us to pray our sin to God? Of course we know that if we cherish sin in our hearts, the Lord will not hear our prayers. Therefore we can't come to God in prayer while we hold on to sin in our lives. Yet at the same time God wants us to come to him just as we are. And yes, we are sinners in need of grace. So just how can we pray our sin to God and that be legitimate?
To attempt to clarify this, a bit, let's give an example. Let's say someone is getting to you in what they're doing against you. You're sometimes angry with them, or at least tired that you can't get anywhere with them to resolve the problem. How would you pray about this to God?
I have found that as I pray to God about that which I know to be sin in my heart and life, and I do so acknowledging my need for God's grace in forgiveness and cleansing, then God meets me, and I find his help. I've also found that I have to keep coming back to God with the same things at times. Though at other junctures I see that I've grown in being less tempted and taken in by a particular sin. Of course growth is so gradual that we often lose sight of where we were a year ago. We may have made some progress in an area which we little realize now. And this may lead us to ask God to show us other areas that need worked on so that we can pray those as well.
Of course praying our sin here is when sin has got hold of us. As we pray the Spirit is at work in us, interceding to God on our behalf, as well as changing an shaping our hearts according to God's will.
So I guess the lesson for us in this is simply this: When struggling in sin, don't run away from or avoid God, but instead, come to God in prayer. Pray exactly how we think and feel at the time. God will be present to help us.
Any thoughts on this?