Prayers are carefully guarded, especially in church. Rarely are we vulnerable. We pray sweet little things. For Aunt Sue’s foot surgery. For our trip. For the anger when things don’t go our way. For the weather on our weekend away. For compassion on our coworker who really, really don’t pull their weight. For the practical, polished, polite prayers that are nice to share with our friends.
But rarely do we pour out our heart.
There is a clear Biblical precedent for being wise with who we decide to share information with. We should cast pearls before swine. But our brothers and sisters in Christ, they aren’t swine. They are the family given to us by God.
We are called to bear one another burdens, but that’s quite difficult when we don’t trust the person next to us in the pew enough to listen to our burdens, let alone walk alongside us through the valleys of life and the wars waged in our hearts.
When we lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus, it should be an invitation for the Body of Christ to come alongside us.
In John 12, when Mary came to the feet of Christ to extravagantly anoint His feet. But she finished her act of worship by pouring out her heart and washing Christ’s feet with her tears, streaming from her face.
This wasn’t a private act of emotional extremity; it was a public way of praising her Lord. Her worship, her tears, were poured out in view of all. She was open and vulnerable for all to see.
Mary’s example is a precious one to follow when walking out our Christian life with other believers. Too often we retreat into ourselves when Christ is calling us to boldly call upon others to witness our hearts, broken and vulnerable before the Lord.
It’s not for show, but rather to honestly and openly unite the Body of Christ.
Often, our hearts are not weighed by the things we share on Sunday mornings. Our valleys are not bad weather on vacation or annoying coworkers. They run much deeper than that.
Friend, the love of Christ can reach your deepest valleys and often, He does that through His Church.
When we pray, let us pray for the true trials and joys we face. It’s hard, vulnerable work to open the door and let someone into your hurt. Marriages that are struggling, children that are wandering from the faith, the stains on sin on our heart that feel like they’re just too much to battle, these are the requests that often go unspoken within the walls of the church. But these are the requests that need the act of war that brothers and sisters in wage on our behalf when they petition the Father and speak truth into our lives.
Our battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battle is much deeper, and the scars are often unseen, even in the family of God. But until we open up our lives and allow others to come alongside us in our battles, we will be neglecting one of the greatest gifts God has given us, His church.
So pour out your heart. Offer it up as a testament to what God has done and what you trust Him to do.
Share with your brothers and sisters in Christ where you are. When you are vulnerable, you not only give them a space to speak truth into the darkness but you also permit them to invite you into the hidden, hard places in their journey.
And then, we can pray together.
Matthews records a promise that when two or more are gathered in His name, Jesus Himself is among us.
When we are gathered together and open with one another, we are bringing our trials, our burdens to the very presence of Christ. So let us come alongside each other pour ourselves out at the very feet of Jesus.