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Backspace, Prayer, and Confession

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But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

James 1:19

At the end of John’s account of the life of Jesus, he wrote that if he had taken the time to write about everything that Jesus did and said, there wouldn’t be enough paper in the world to hold all of the wonderful things about Jesus. While I couldn’t write that much, I believe I could fill a few books with comments, articles, sermons, and even videos that I deleted before publishing.

Sometimes, hitting “enter” to send that comment just isn’t worth it, you know?

Someone says something that is obviously wrong. Or maybe they’re being rude. Or it could be that it’s a subject you just enjoy talking about. So, you sit there and write out a long response, but you ultimately end up backspacing the whole thing or just closing the app altogether because you know that it isn’t worth your time.

Maybe just by typing it you get it out of your system and can move on with your life.

At least, that’s how I feel a lot of the time. I probably type out at least one comment like that a day.

But I think there is an interesting lesson here to be learned about prayer. We know that God knows what we need before we even ask, so what’s the point in asking? I think it’s the same thing as typing out one of those messages you never send. God is someone we can talk to about anything at anytime. His love, forgiveness, and mercy are kind of like that backspace. We can say anything we want, and He is always there. And since He already knows what’s on our heart, we might as well go ahead and get it out there!

Prayer is a chance for us to vent our frustrations, ask questions, and cry out to the Lord. And for many of us, God may just be the only one we feel comfortable talking to about some stuff.

But what we need to learn how to do is become the backspace for our brothers and sisters. We should be like God in that if someone needs to come to us to get something out, we need to be available, forgiving, and loving just as God is.

Cultivating this kind of atmosphere in our churches would be revolutionary because it is often in our common faults, failures, disappointments, and tragedies that we can grow closer together. God wants us to pray to Him, but perhaps we should use that as practice so that we can follow another desire of His: “Confess you sin for one another, and pray for one another so that you can be healed” (James 5:16).

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