Sometimes we need a short drink, and sometimes we need a long prayer. Sometimes we regret being sober, and sometimes we don't care if anyone knows it. Sometimes we're scared of ourselves, we get no help, and we get fed up that life isn't fair. Sometimes we regret swallowing the medication, and sometimes we resent the way we feel. Sometimes we pretend that we miss drinking away our problems, and we're angry that God doesn't help us when we kneel and pray. We plead with Jesus to save us, but he doesn't seem to hear us.
So what happens when we say it out loud, that we don't believe this prayer thing works? What happens when we admit that we need some liquid courage to walk into church? What happens when we tell the truth, that we take the knives out of our backs to stir our drinks, and we're tired of people making us show them our burns to prove we've been to hell and back? We're just human, after all. What do they expect? Why do we have to keep proving ourselves? And yet we cannot be bothered to just be honest and admit the truth, that we need God's strength?
So when we're scared, we send out a prayer. If nobody hears us, we send out a prayer. We get honest and admit life hurts and that every day seems to get worse. We admit that what we keep doing doesn't work. Why keep faking it when we know we won't make it? Why keep consuming the things that consume us? Why not try something different for a change? Stop buying whiskey, stop popping pills, stop eating garbage, put down our phones, turn off the televisions, stop looking for faster ways to fall into our graves, and just admit we need Jesus. We need hope. We need his strength. We need his Word, the Holy Spirit, and the Church.
We need his strength because we keep talking to God, but doubt that he hears us. We need his strength because we know that our demons are there always listening. We need his strength because we know we get lost in the dark, and we're drowning in worries. We know we miss being a child when believing in God seemed so much easier. We need God's strength because we're not who we were before.
We cannot close our eyes to the darkness, and we cannot hold on through the storm. We're a wreck and we're not built to fight the kind of war we're fighting. And when we're always fighting short days turn into long nights. We look at the bottles, and the pills, and the television screens, and our smartphones, and our bibles, and we don't know which one to choose.
And maybe we don't read the Bible, because that's not our first choice. But it's still with us. God's Word is still with us. Maybe our eyes can't see Jesus' blood in the cup. but he's still with us. His blood is still there, poured out for us. We may believe that nobody will miss us, but when we're on our knees, God is listening.
So we pray on our way to the liquor store that the doors are locked. We pray on our way to the pharmacy that they can't fill our prescriptions. We pray on our way to church that God meets us there. We pray for peace and wholeness, strength and boldness, and that we're given the eyes to see that even when the doors are unlocked, the bottle of pills is waiting for us on the counter, and God seems to have left the building, that underneath it all God's still there. He's still listening. He's still answering. He's still leading and guiding us through the darkness, the storms, and the wars. He's still fighting for us. How do we think we've made it this far?
So when we feel suicidal, we pray. When we live a life of hell, we pray. When we lose money, and can't escape the distractions and addictions, we pray. When we're anxious and want to hide, we pray. When we want to build walls to keep ourselves safe, we pray. When we put our babies in the grave, we pray. But, what will we pray for? We will pray, “Not my will, but thy will be done, my Lord and my God because you are resurrection and life, and you have promised to never abandon or forsake us.”
At the bottom, in the end, no matter how high we rise or how far we fall, and no matter how much we get done or leave undone we pray because our God is a living God and he listens to our cries for help. More than that, he answers them all, not according to what we want, but according to what we need, for Jesus' sake.