“As my life was ebbing away, I remembered the LORD; and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.” ~Jonah 2:7 (NRSV).
From a practical viewpoint, the mystique of prayer is absolved in the fact that it amends many of our frightening deficiencies, purely for the cause of vulnerability. Such vulnerability creates intimacy in our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
In other words, God makes it attainable that we might, perhaps for the first time, relate truly with ourselves in oneness.
There are at least four ways we can convert weakness into strength. But first we must acknowledge that such strength is not devoid of God, but provisional upon God’s power. We only ever derive God’s strength from our weakness.
God Wants to Use Our Failures
Times when our worlds crashed into the abyss we felt as if there were no God to save us. But God, of course, had a better plan. The Lord was to use our failures to lead us out of trouble and to lead others to him through our testimony.
If other people can see how those failures have turned out for good in your life, how will they not be inspired of hope to turn to God in theirs?
If we prayerfully turn to the Lord, sharing our weakness in prayer, as honestly as we can, we will be given the strength of confidence to climb out of that abyss.
Be Honest About Feelings
One of the truly great things about having a relationship with God is we’re afforded the ability to be honest, truly vulnerable, without feeling embarrassed. The God of all creation knows there are weaker people than you, and there are stronger people, too.
But feelings are not about strength at all, unless we talk about the courage to share. That takes strength. The truth is when we’re honest about our feelings something wondrous occurs within us, like a weight is lifted off our shoulders; our spirits feel lighter and our gait quickens with joy.
Anger will be the end of us if we’ll let it, for its destructive power has sent many to premature death, preceded prison sentences, broken marriages and severed ties etc. It only takes one mismanaged moment—potentially a lifetime of regret and remorse ensues. Anger has usually been preceded by unmanaged frustration.
Prayer is a pressure release valve. It gives us the capacity to ‘count to 10’, even as the moments of annoyance arrive thick and fast in the moment. Prayer, instead of flaming reaction, is the answer. It turns regrettable weakness into inimitable strength.
Reflective prayer also amends frustration as we open our hearts, later, when we have time on our hands.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Fears
Everyone fears some things. It corresponds, therefore, not to be ashamed of these fears. Certainly some fears are designed to help us live longer, better quality lives. But other fears tend to be barriers to the abundant life.
God designed us with fears so we would more gladly rely on his power in order to get through. We do this by admitting them, not being ashamed of how God created us, and asking for his help.
When we understand that vulnerability creates intimacy through prayer, we turn our failures, feelings, frustrations, and fears into formidable capability, because of the strength of God. Share with God honestly, authentically, sincerely; courageously.
As we prayerfully convert weakness into strength, we use and therefore see God’s power at work. We can readily thank God, like Jonah did, and see once again the enormous value of prayer for the abundant life.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.