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Life involves pain, so let us pray honest and open prayers and in turn find healing

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Brian CarmackPsalm 34:18 (NLT) "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." God is near the broken and offers healing to the honest.

In the movie "The Princess Bride," the Dread Pirate Roberts says emphatically to the one he loves, "Life is pain, your highness. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something." Jesus speaks a similar word to His disciples: "Here on Earth, you will have many trials and sorrows…" I think we would all agree that these statements are truth.

I'd like to say that I'm an honest person. But, when it comes to pain in life, if I'm being totally honest, I tend to wear a mask. To fit into the culture, I tend to say things like, "I'm fine…doing great…it's all good…," when in fact, those aren't always entirely true statements. Not everyone is ready for blunt, completely open and honest communication, but God is.

Recently, I was in my prayer closet trying to connect with God. It was a poor connection; my reception was at best one bar. As I took time to listen, a question came to mind: "What's wrong, Brian?" While I knew that God could answer that question better than I could, I also knew that unless I honestly share the dark part of my heart, light wouldn't be allowed in. I replied, "I'm angry!" A small drip turned into a steady stream, then a waterfall of words and emotion that were bottled up inside. Healing came. Then came a word: "Here's what you can do Brian..."

The verse just before Psalm 34:18 says that God hears and rescues those who call to Him for help. An honest call for help is a simple step but sometimes hard to do.

It was Mother's Day just a few weeks ago. We decided to be honest. The usual approach is to talk about how amazing mothers are and honor women aged 18 and older and celebrate this amazing gift God has given the human race. We did that. But this time was a little different. We decided to talk also about the difficult side of Mother's Day. What about the times of loss? A mother who has passed, a divorce happened, a grown child estranged from their mother, a child who was put up for adoption, a miscarriage, a baby that was aborted. If we can't be honest about the pain in life, especially with God, then how will we ever fully heal?

A lady spoke with me after the Mother's Day service and mentioned how she had been estranged from her mother following her parent's divorce as a child. She said, "I almost didn't come today because I knew that this would be all about how good motherhood is. But today, I was given permission to grieve what I didn't have in a mother. I think I found some healing today."

The Apostle Paul tells us in II Corinthians 12:10 that he speaks freely of his weaknesses and heart-aching moments because it opens the door to the power of Christ working within. He states, "When I am weak, then I am strong."

My son Anthony recommended a book that I am really enjoying by Krispin Mayfield titled, "Attached to God: A Practical Guide to Deeper Spiritual Experience." The author states, "God wants to create a sanctuary for honest prayers, where pretense and formalities fall away in favor of true intimacy." C.S. Lewis comments about prayer: "We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us." I find that when I share what is with God, true intimacy follows. The door is then open for true healing.

God has a mandate for those who enter His presence: No masks. Or at least if you come, remove the mask. Isaiah 57:15 tells us that He dwells with people who are humble, repentant and lowly. James 5:16 tells us that He will lift those who make themselves low. When I come to prayer with an honest and vulnerable heart, the connection jumps to "four bars." The closer I am to the heart of God, the healthier my heart is. Life involves pain, let's pray honest and open prayers and find healing!

Brian Carmack serves as lead pastor at Eastside Church in Prineville. If you have questions or comments, he can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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