There have been times in my life when it was extremely difficult to pray to God. It’s not that I doubted God’s existence or wondered if prayer was even helpful. Prayer at those times was difficult because I had fallen back into sin and was ashamed to present my heart to the Father. Like Adam in Genesis Chapter 3, I was hiding from God.
I was spiritually broken and lost. My guess is some of you have been there before. Actually, if we’re all honest about our lives, we’ll admit each of us has felt that way at some point along the road. Perhaps you’re there now. Broken, lost, and overcome with shame about failing again to fight off that particular temptation which seems to get you every time.
It’s during these moments when we can get the concept of being a Christian backwards. We sit in the assembly quietly hiding our shame and see those around us filled with joy and seemingly completely in control of their spiritual lives. In these times it’s quite easy to consider church as the place for the righteous, the pure, the strong and the spiritually healthy. It’s for people who have it figured out, not for people slowly spiraling out of control.
Jesus did not come to earth to heal the healthy. He came to give life back to the sick and dying. He came for you no matter how spiritually lost and broken you might feel.
While standing in the synagogue of Nazareth, Jesus read a prophecy about Himself from Isaiah. The prophecy explained the purpose of God’s Son. “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus could have read Isaiah 9:6 where God calls Him “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He could have read Jeremiah 23:5-6 where He is declared the rightful King of David’s lineage. He could have read Psalm 2 which describes the triumph of Christ’s kingdom. But He didn’t read any of these.
He read about His role as healer and liberator. Why? Because what I need in my darkest moments, those times when I’m broken, is not necessarily a King surrounded in regal splendor. What I need in those moments is someone who recognizes my downtrodden state and who can actually make things better in my life. Seeing Jesus as my King will come later after I see how He has delivered my mind from the shame of sin.
You see, people don’t gather together within the walls of a church building because they have it all figured out. They don’t seek out the assembly because they see within themselves some sort of righteousness. Those seats are filled with people who have also been broken spiritually and who have also felt hopelessly lost. The destitute, the dirty, the downtrodden, the diseased, and the dying find solace in Jesus of Nazareth.
Those times when I don’t feel worthy of praying are the very times when Jesus can help me the most. In fact, those are the times when Jesus speaks directly to me. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jeremy Morris, his wife, and children attend the Church of Christ off of Murray Road. He can be reached at email@example.com.