Tag Archives: struggling

The Rawness We Face in Pursuit of Prayer & Intimacy with God

When we pursue a deeply close relationship with Jesus, we often come face to face with the deepest longings within our souls. Yearnings seem to ache and cry out from the depths of us in the midst of life’s noise, needing to be fulfilled.

Even more, we stumble upon the slippery river rocks of our struggles in which we must fight against filling the voids we feel with things other than Jesus. We need to just let go, take a deep breath, and journey out of our comfort zone, diving deep into the, at first, shockingly frigid river and start swimming upstream toward God’s throne.

This can feel like an unbearably raw place to be. In the midst of worship and prayer (whether in a group, prayer room, church, or alone), the tug to pull away from feeling and facing our neediness yanks at us, trying to rope us back into more practical activities and even into mere distractions.

We may first face the deafening ache of our hearts, ever needy for God, as we attempt to draw nearer to Him. Within our souls the pain of this longing can seem like an intolerable silence, yet all at once filling us with its wearying noise. It is the deep calling to deep at the roar of His waterfalls (Psalm 42:7).

Our surrender to God’s ways will soon smell satisfyingly sweet if we will simply turn our gaze to Him and off our soul and our circumstances. Know this: Jesus is worth it all in comparison to any other pursuit. Refuse to quit when your soul demands you to pacify its needs. Keep drawing near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

All this may seem foreign if you have not journeyed this way before, but in time I pray that, for each of us, the budding understanding of this experience will be fully formed in us, assisting us as we decide to push past the pain, the emptiness, and the yearning with the determination to grow closer to God.

We know with assurance: Only Christ can fully satisfy these yearnings.

Holy Addiction

If there is one major lesson I have learned in life, it is that God is the only One who can truly satisfy the desires, needs & longings we have.

Before truly encountering the Lord in my life, I tried to find love & fulfillment in people and in my gifts, but it proved only to pile depression & anxiety on top of the lack of love I felt. Like many of you, I discovered that all other endeavors, addictions & wants lead only to empty fillings & even pain.

Though they may seem to meet our needs for a time, eventually other people and things show themselves as unable to fully meet those deep needs inside our souls.

They are broken cisterns, unable to hold any substance that could ever fulfill us (Jeremiah 2:13). But know that the Lord Himself can truly satisfy & He wants to fill us, no matter how much we’ve failed in the past or present.

Father God wants to bring joy, delight & fulfillment into our lives. He wants to replace our striving to be satisfied elsewhere with a holy addiction to Himself & His presence. He will fulfill you like no one & nothing else can.

But don’t just take my words & read them, go spend some time alone with Him & taste for yourself the pleasures of the love of Jesus. This is one intoxication you will never regret and you can always fearlessly ask for more.

Isaiah 58:11 NASB: “…the LORD will continually guide you, & satisfy your desire in scorched places, & give strength to your bones; & you will be like a watered garden, & like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

You Are Not a Failure

Sometimes we find ourselves feeling like we are somehow failing God as we look at the good fruit others are bearing around us. We see their blessings and we even forget the ones God has given to us personally. At other times we see others’ depth of intimacy with God and misjudge our relationship with Him as shallow.

We do not see clearly the good fruit that is being worked in and through our own hearts and lives. This fruit may be still growing, or we may even be producing it and simply not seeing it because of trials we are experiencing in our lives. But let’s stop being so harsh toward ourselves as those truly seeking after the heart of God, and remember this:

God knows best though and is in charge of the timing and amount of good fruit that we bear for His Kingdom. He just asks us to say “yes” to wanting to bear good fruit, and then asks us to do our part:  Abide in Him.

With that in mind, read this familiar passage from John 15:1-4 (NKJV):

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

If we belong to Christ, and we pursue intimacy with Him, we will bear good fruit; it’s a promise!

Have you ever struggled with comparing yourself to others, or feeling like a failure in God’s eyes? Did this post help you to see the truth of how God is working in your life even in the struggles of the past or the present? Share below.