This is an adapted excerpt from Take Heart: God's Comfort for Anxious Thoughts by Lindsay Hausch.
A daily rhythm of time in God’s Word and in prayer is a way to abide in God. As we do these things, He rearranges our hearts and aligns them with His. This is a way to soften and prepare for the storms that test our hearts and our faith. For me, there are days when this happens over coffee at the breakfast table with kids chomping down their bananas, chatting and clambering for my attention. Sometimes, this is all that my season of life can accommodate, and so I take what I can get. I’ve learned that waiting for the “best” time for daily devotions means they don’t happen.
Flexible Time with God
This morning routine is similar to the “dates” I have with my husband. Usually, these are simply a quick lunch when our older kids are in school or time together in the backyard over beer and a bonfire after the children have gone to bed. Have you used the same kind of flexibility to spend time with the people you love and want a relationship with? What about your time with God? Imagine what your imperfect dates with God could look like. Then think about the small, simple—yet significant— shifts you can make to meet with God in your everyday life.
God is Here
Have you imagined God as a flaky friend in the sky that you need to persuade to give you time, attention, and affection? Your intellect may know that God doesn’t operate like this, but there is still a flashing thought or the caution sign of guilt that causes you to pause before you pray.
I want to assure you of this right now: God is here, He is waiting, and He welcomes His wandering children with a warm embrace. Do not let your own uncertainty and insecurity distance you from the Father’s love, which is always there for you. Do not let the evil one convince you that you aren’t good enough for God to listen to.
This “right now prayer” can take the form of long conversation, or it can be a simple cry that acknowledges your need for Him.
Crying Out to Christ
A prayer can be as simple as turning our hearts to God as we recognize that we can’t do this life without Him. “Lord, save me,” Peter cried out to Jesus, who “immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him” (Matthew 14:30–31). Notice that Jesus was right there with Peter, watching and waiting for Peter to call out to Him. This account shows us that we, too, can cry out in utter vulnerability and need, and that God doesn’t hesitate to meet us. He is just as real and just as present for us as He was for Peter.
My prayer for you and me is that we never let guilt or doubt come between us and God, that we don’t let it keep us from reaching for His hand. God doesn’t care about our fancy words or Bible knowledge when we turn our hearts to Him. This account in Matthew teaches us that Jesus Himself meets us in the storm—whether it’s a storm that threatens the foundation of our lives or a worry that steals our calm. “Lord, save me.” Some call this an arrow prayer, and it is a simple way to reorient our hearts toward Jesus as we look to Him for help.
Fully Known, Fully Loved
We don’t need to tiptoe into prayer as we perform the awkward dance of introducing ourselves or appearing wiser and more capable than we really are. We can rest in the knowledge that we are already fully known and fully loved by God. When we pray, we change course out of our spiral of anxieties, and God reaches down and pulls us out of the dark depths into which we are sinking.
As we shift our attention from inward to upward, God gives us renewed purpose and propels us into relationship with others. More, as we pray over the things that burden our hearts, we can trust that He not only hears and responds to our prayers but He also works in our hearts as we learn to see the world and respond to it differently.
Prayer is a transformative relationship with God as we not only bring our anxious thoughts and needs to Him but also allow Him to enter and rearrange our perspectives, our hearts, and our lives.
Guilt and doubt can exacerbate anxious thoughts. In Take Heart: God's Comfort for Anxious Thoughts, know God meets you where you are.