Psalm 18 teaches us the best way to pray. Share your feelings with God to level up your prayer life - and become a better prophet.
Gary Clarke (leader of Hillsong UK) spoke recently about how we relate to God. He said this:
“Just spend time with God. Not praying, but sharing your heart with him. Just have a coffee with him. Tell him what’s going on with you, what’s bothering you at the moment and what you’re worried about.”
- Gary Clarke
I think Gary hit the nail on the head in this strangest of years:
God is teaching us in this season about our relationship with him. And he doesn't want to know only our mind, he wants the whole person, including our feelings.
I’ve been reflecting on what Gary said and I realised that the Lord already shared this truth with us, several thousand years ago! He showed us how through the Psalms.
The Psalms teach us the best way to pray. They show us how to share our emotions with God and how that practice leads us further into his presence and his destiny for our lives.
And one Psalm in particular seems to stand out to me at this time: Psalm 18.
Spend time with God, Share Your Feelings With God
By “not praying”, I think what Gary really means is this:
Don’t just ask God for things to tick off a virtual list you have in your head. Take a while to enjoy God’s presence and let him know what’s happening in your life: emotionally, not just mentally.
If you only ask God for what you want, then you might receive it, but you could miss out on getting to know him better.
However, tell him how you feel and you open things up in a completely different way.
Share Your Feelings With God: Prose And Poetry
To put all this in context, we discussed in a previous post how the different types of Bible translation are for different purposes:
Word-for-word translations convey the meaning very well, while paraphrases in modern language convey the feelings.
Internally, the Bible text also conveys meaning and feeling in different ways, through prose and poetry:
Prose comprises the majority of the text and simply means the standard sentences and paragraphs you’re used to reading, just as you would see in other books.
As we stated above, prose conveys meaning: God has a story to tell and a specific message for us, which prose brings to light.
In Poetry the text is laid out differently, in short sentences and passages. Biblical examples include prayers that are spoken by Jesus and other protagonists. And some of the best examples are found in the book of Psalms.
Poetry conveys feeling: there is still a message from God, but poetry highlights the very human situations people find themselves in and the intensity of the associated emotions.
How Psalm 18 Teaches Us To Share Your Feelings With God
Let’s take a tour through Psalm 18 to see what I mean. I’ll be using the NIV.
The introduction to Psalm 18 says this:
“To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.”
(Psalm 18, NIV)
This is a fairly inauspicious beginning, but it’s signed off with “He said:” which leads us into the main body of David’s thoughts.
I don't have space to print the entire Psalm here, but here’s a scrolling version for you to follow along:
Step Through Psalm 18
Let’s step through Psalm 18 to unpack what’s going on.
Psalm 18 starts the first 3 verses in worship:
David says, “the Lord is my rock”. He is also David’s fortress and deliverer.
In v4-6 David reveals his state of mind: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, to my God I cried for help”.
He was surely in a difficult place but then David remembers that God heard his cry.
Much of the rest of the Psalm tells us what God did for him. In v7-19, David tells of how the Lord rescued him and how God moved heaven and earth to do so.
He ends this piece on a joyful note “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me”.
David justifies his joy (v20) by saying that he has kept the ways of God, so God gave an answer to his righteousness.
He then goes back into worship.
From v25 through to the end (v50), David turns his words once more onto how good God is, his relationship with God, and how perfect and amazing God is:
“The Lord lives and blessed be my rock …who rescued me from my enemies. For this, I will praise you, Oh Lord, among the nations…”
Finally, David ends on a prophetic note (v50):
“Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.”
Here, David foreshadows the Messiah who would one day be his descendant.
The Importance Of Sharing Our Emotions
Why do I think this Psalm is so important in this season?
I believe it’s because David shows us that when we share our emotions and struggles with God, it doesn't drag us down:
On the contrary, when we offload and give our troubles over to God, we lift our eyes to him and are reminded of his goodness and greatness.
That takes us full circle, back into worship. And when we experience the Lord’s grace and presence, it re-energises us to prophesy for him, once more.
“By praying and sharing honestly with God exactly where we are, we don’t stay where we are. We move on.” - Tim Bader
Share Your Feelings With God
It’s this honesty, this complete transparency, that I believe God values highly.
By praying and sharing honestly with God exactly where we are, we don’t stay where we are. We move on.
Honesty with God (and with ourselves) about our own feelings is not something outside of, or separate to, our faith, it's a concrete part of it.
It’s not about our doubts, worries and concerns working against our faith. It's about us taking those very things and turning them into an opportunity for relationship and kingdom blessing.
When we share with him honestly, it leads us directly into the place God wanted us in, all along: a son or daughter of our heavenly father.
And it’s often through this deeply personal relationship, that we discover the revelation and breakthroughs we seek for all those “tick list” items we were worried about before!
How often do you share your innermost feelings with God and how does it help you?
Let Us Know Your Answer In The Comments Area, Below.