Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Lamentations, and more specifically, is found in the second chapter of the book. As has already been discussed, and as is widely believed—the Old Testament book of Lamentations contains the written anguish, sorrow, distress and pain within the heart and soul of Jeremiah. When one reads the words contained within this prophetic book, one is immediately caught up and struck with the reality that these words are much like the language we find within and throughout the Old Testament book of the Psalms. If you take the time to study and read the Old Testament book of the Psalms, you will discover that it contains numerous complaints before and numerous complaints to the Lord of hosts. The book of the Psalms is filled with prayers that are more than simply prayers, but prayers which are actually cries of anguish, cries of desperation, cries of distress, and cries of sorrow. WHEN A PRAYER IS MORE THAN A PRAYER! Are you aware of the fact that it is possible that a prayer can be more than a prayer? What I mean by this, is that a prayer can be more than simply our coming before and our entering into the presence of the Lord and bringing our petitions before the Lord. There are many who believe prayer to yes be a dialogue between God and man, as man approaches and speaks to God on the basis of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, and as the Lord speaks to His people in return. This is undoubtedly and unquestionably true, yet I am convinced that there are a number of men and women who actually limit the beauty and the reality of what prayer actually is, and moreover, what it can actually be. If we limit prayer simply to the bringing of our petitions before the Lord of hosts, we have utterly and completely missed the entire point of prayer. It is true the Lord delights in and desires the bringing of our petitions before Him, however, there are times in our lives when that simply is not enough. There are times when bringing our petitions before the Lord is not what is necessary, nor what is required within our hearts and lives. There are times when bringing our petitions and requests before the Lord is actually not what the Lord our God requires of us. Do you know what the Lord desires more than simply our offerings of prayer and our sacrifices of prayer before Him in His presence? That which the Lord desires, and that which He is pleased with more than anything else is full and complete honesty and transparency. The Lord is not looking for those who know exactly what to say when they enter into His presence and come before Him in prayer, but rather, He is looking for those who may not know what to say, and the only thing they have going for them is their honesty and transparency before the King of kings and Lord of lords.
WHEN THE ONLY THING YOU HAVE TO OFFER IS YOUR HONESTY! Did you know there are times when you come into the presence of the Lord, and you attempt to bring your petitions and requests before Him, yet that simply is not enough? There are times within our lives when we come and appear before the Lord of hosts, and we come with absolutely no petitions and no requests, for our hearts and our souls are too burdened and too consumed with what are fasting and dealing with. There are times within our hearts and lives when we enter into the presence of the Lord and have nothing to offer but our honesty and our transparency. In fact, I would dare say that there are men and women who sugar coat their honest with petitions and requests that sound good, yet don’t stretch or touch the surface of what they are actually experiencing and facing. There are men and women who mask their transparency with petitions and requests which they have been taught to bring before the Lord. Are you aware of the fact that you can actually bring requests and petitions before the Lord, and yet be completely and totally dishonest before Him? Are you aware of the fact that you can enter into the Lord’s presence, and present the impression that you are actually drawing near to Him with an honest and sincere heart, yet in all reality, you are doing anything but that. I am reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah, which Jesus the Christ quoted when speaking to and speaking of the Pharisees of His generation, for the prophet spoke of a people that drew to the Lord with their lips, yet their hearts were far from Him. Did you know that you can draw near to the Lord with your petitions and your requests, and yet your heart can be far from Him because you are unwilling to be honest with and honest before Him? I would submit for your consideration the fact that there are times in our lives when our petitions and requests aren’t actually the desire or focus of our heart, for our heart might very well be completely shattered and broken into a million pieces. There are times in our lives when we enter into the presence of the Lord, and even enter into the house of the Lord, and while our petitions and requests sound and appear to be good on the surface, they contain absolutely no honesty, nor do they contain any transparency.
WHEN PETITIONS BEFORE THE LORD ARE VOID OF ANY HONESTY! WHEN REQUESTS BEFORE THE LORD ARE VOID OF ANY TRANSPARENCY BEFORE THE LORD! Is it possible that the Lord is not concerned with the petitions and requests we bring before Him in His presence unless they are accompanied by brutal honesty and transparency? Is it possible that the Lord can’t even hear our petitions and requests because He hears something that isn’t being spoken—something that isn’t heard by the natural ear. THE UNSPOKEN LANGUAGE OF PRAYER! THE HIDDEN LANGUAGE OF PRAYER! WHEN THE HEART IS CONCEALED IN PRAYER! Did you know that it is absolutely and without a doubt possible that your heart can be completely and totally concealed before and from the Lord in prayer? Did you know that it is possible to enter into the presence of the Lord, and with your lips attempt to bring and offer something before Him, yet at the same time you are actually hiding and concealing the very state and condition of your heart? I wrote concerning the unspoken language of prayer and the hidden language of prayer, and these realities must be carefully examined if we are going to have authentic communication before and with the Lord. What I mean, and what I am speaking of when I speak of the unspoken and hidden language of prayer is that which isn’t heard, and that which can’t be heard by men, simply because the only thing they hear are our petitions and requests. It might sound absolutely wonderful—even to ourselves—when we present petitions and requests before the Lord, yet what good are those petitions and requests if they are not truly what our heart desires? I would dare say that there are times within our lives when the petitions and requests we bring before the Lord are brought into His presence, simply because we have been taught that such are petitions and requests men and women should bring into the presence of the Lord. It is true the apostle Paul—when writing to the Philippian congregation—encouraged them to “be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). While the words of the apostle Paul are undoubtedly true, and while it is true that we are to bring our petitions and our requests before the Lord, it is also true that we must be honest about what those petitions and requests truly are. It is possible that the petitions and requests we bring before the Lord aren’t really the true petitions and requests that are present within our hearts. The apostle Paul did encourage us to let your requests be known unto God, yet it’s curious the apostle Paul doesn’t describe what those requests actually are.
DEFINING THE PETITIONS OF THE HEART! DEFINING THE REQUESTS OF THE HEART! What I can, what I must, and what I will say about the petitions and requests we bring before the Lord, is that our petitions and requests are not that which we have been taught to bring before the Lord. The petitions and requests we bring before the Lord are not what we have grown comfortable with speaking before and speaking in the presence of the Lord. A true petition before the Lord is that which is actually pressing upon our heart and soul with such tremendous force that it cannot be denied or ignored. A true request before the Lord is that which is actually weighing upon our heart, mind and soul, and we are perhaps even tired and weary of carrying. How many times have we become so comfortable, and perhaps even numb to coming before the Lord and bringing petitions absent honesty, and requests absent transparency? How many times have we attempted to appear before the Lord in prayer sounded sincere, sounding genuine, sounding authentic, yet if we are honest with ourselves, and honest with the Lord, we are anything but honest? While it is a secular movie that starred Jim Carey, I can’t help but be reminded of a movie he starred in where the main character could not lie for an extended period of time. I don’t remember the exact length of time Jim Carey’s character was restrained from lying actually was, but pause for a moment and consider this reality being true even for a period of twenty-four hours. Stop and consider the reality of being completely and totally unable to speak a single lie for an entire day—in other words, everything that came out of your mouth was nothing but the truth. When speaking unto God, and when speaking before God, we are restrained and prohibited from speaking anything false—anything that was a lie before, and anything in the presence of others. The reason I mention this is because I can’t help but think of this in terms of our coming and our appearing before the Lord in prayer. What if we were completely and utterly unable to speak a single lie before and in the presence of the Lord Almighty? What if the only thing we were able to do when coming and appearing before the Lord in prayer was speak the truth and only the truth? What would our prayers look like if we were prohibited and barred from speaking anything that was a lie in the presence of the Lord? What would your quiet times of prayer look like if the only thing you could present to Him was your honesty, your sincerity, your genuineness and your authenticity?
WHY DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON? WHY DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT’S REALLY ON YOUR MIND? WHY DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT’S REALLY BOTHERING YOU? How many times have you attempt to speak to someone else—perhaps a close friend, or even a family member—and in the process of speaking to them, they stopped you mid sentence and asked you to tell them what was really going on in your life? I am convinced beyond measure that there are and there have been times when those closest to us have stopped us mid sentence and asked us to tell them what’s really on our mind. In other words, they hear the words we are speaking in their hearing and in their presence, yet they know that the words we are speaking in their presence aren’t at all what we are thinking and feeling. Those who know us the best are often in the greatest position and place to call us out when they feel we aren’t being truly honest concerning the condition and state of our hearts. It isn’t that we are deliberately and intentionally trying to deceive others—it’s just that we are afraid of honest. Did you know that it is possible to be afraid of honesty—even your own honesty? There is a scene in a popular movie starring Tom Cruise where he asks those before him if they want the truth, and almost before they have the chance to respond, he emphatically declares to them, “You can’t handle the truth!” How many of us are actually in this place within our lives? How many of us spend our days living in the place where we can’t handle the truth—even the truth of our own heart? CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH OF YOUR OWN HEART? CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH OF YOUR OWN SOUL? How many times and how often have we attempted to run from the truth of our heart and the truth of our soul? We aren’t making any attempt to deceive others within our lives, but we can’t handle the truth, nor the honesty of our heart and soul. Tell me—if you can’t handle the truth and honesty of your own heart and soul, how can you expect others to be able to do so? If you can’t handle the truth and honesty of your own heart and soul, why on earth would you attempt to present anything but that which is false in the presence of others? I can hear the Spirit of the Lord asking His people a very pointed and powerful question—“Why are you afraid of the honesty of your own soul? Why are you afraid of the honesty of your own heart? Why are you holding back that part of you that is the real you?”
WHY ARE YOU HOLDING BACK THAT PART OF YOU WHICH IS THE REAL YOU? How many times in prayer have we held back and reserved that part of us which is the real us? We do so because in all reality we can’t handle, and perhaps are even afraid of our own honesty and transparency. Tell me—if you are afraid of your own honesty and transparency, how on earth could you handle someone else’s honesty and transparency? I am convinced there are a number of men and women who may enter into the presence of the Lord, and the words which may proceed forth from their mouths may sound genuine and sincere, yet what they are actually doing is holding back that part of them which is who they really and truly are. More often than not, we are afraid of our honesty and our transparency because we are afraid what others might think concerning us. This reality is true even of God, for we are afraid to present and reveal our honesty before the Lord because we are afraid of how He might react and respond. Did you know that God can handle your honesty? Did you know that God can handle your transparency? Did you know that God isn’t scared, nor is He afraid of your honesty or transparency before Him in His presence? What did Adam and Eve do in the garden of Eden after they had transgressed against the Lord? The first thing they did after they had transgressed the command of the Lord was to sew fig leaves together to cover their nakedness. It’s important to note that they didn’t immediately hide among the trees of the garden after they had sinned against the Lord. What was it that caused them to hide among the trees in order to conceal themselves? If you study the account found in the book of Genesis, you will discover that what caused them to hide was the presence of the Lord walking in the garden. They did not hide because of their transgression, but rather, they hid because they knew they would have to deal with something within their lives. Oh, how many times do we do the same thing—whether it be before and in the presence of the Lord, or before and in the presence of others? How many times do we attempt to hide ourselves among trees simply because we are afraid to confront and deal with who we really are and what is really going on within their hearts and lives. HIDING FROM HONESTY! WHEN HIDING IS EASIER THAN STANDING AND DEALING WITH REALITY! HIDING FROM TRANSPARENCY!
I am convinced there are a number of men and women—including myself—who are doing anything and everything they can to hide from honesty. There are men and women who are doing anything and everything they can to hide from the honesty of their own heart because they know what honesty means, and what that honesty will require. THE DEMAND OF HONESTY! THE REQUIREMENT OF HONESTY! Are you aware of the fact that honesty places a demand and requirement within your life and upon you when you are truly willing to deal with and present it—both to the Lord and to man? I am convinced that more often than not we as Christians choose to hold back that portion of that is the real us—that portion of us which is the authentic and genuine reality of who we really are. Much like Ananias and Sapphira who attempted to conspire together to lie to the Holy Ghost, so too do we conspire within ourselves to lie to the Holy Ghost. Oh, it may not be overt and blatant lies as we would define lying, but it is something that is far more subtle and far more diabolical. That which I am speaking of is not an overt and blatant lying unto the Spirit of Christ, but a deliberate and willful withholding of ourselves while we present the reality as if we are offering everything. There are times when the petitions and requests we bring before the Lord are nothing more than that which Ananias and Sapphira brought unto Peter, the rest of the apostles, and the church in Jerusalem—bringing a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the property, while giving the impression they were bringing everything. LEAVING HONESTY AT THE DOOR! LEAVING HONESTY IN THE CAR! LEAVING HONESTY IN THE HOME! Oh, there are countless times when we enter into the house of the Lord, yet we do so having left our honesty at the door. It’s as if honesty is an unwelcome guest or perhaps even an unruly child we are afraid can and will embarrass us. We enter into the house of the Lord wearing our Sunday’s best, and we leave honesty at the door as we would leave a dog outside a business establishment, or perhaps even unruly child whom we are worried will embarrass us. We are afraid to bring honesty with us when we enter the house of the Lord because we because we feel it has the potential to embarrass, and or even hurt and harm us. Let me pause for a moment and state that if we have to leave our honesty at the door of the house of the Lord, and if we even remotely feel as though we can’t bring it in with us, there is a serious problem. It is both a dangerous and tragic thing when the house of the Lord is not a safe place where we can bring our honesty and our transparency.
Oh, how many people enter into the house of the Lord and yet leave their honesty at the door—much like entering into someone’s house and removing your shoes for fear of dirtying the house with what may be on your shoes? How many people don’t even bring their honesty with them as far as the door, but perhaps even leave it in the car? How many people leave the honesty of what may have even taken place that morning in the home between spouses, or between parents and their children? How many people enter into the house of the Lord and leave their honesty in the car—honesty concerning an argument that took place in the car while preparing to come to the house of the Lord? What’s more, is how many people won’t even bring their honesty with them in the car, but leave their honesty at home. Much like you would leave a child with a babysitter, or leave a pet at home, we choose to leave our honesty and our transparency at home because we are unwilling to bring it with us. Oh, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are men and women who treat honesty and transparency as two unruly kids who can’t be taken out into public for fear of them making a scene. They would rather isolate and keep them hidden and concealed because they are fearful of what can and might take place if allowed to enter into the presence of others. Have you ever noticed that sometimes honesty and transparency seem to flare up when you enter into the presence of the Lord—especially in the house of the Lord. It’s almost as if entering into the presence of the Lord awakens the honesty and transparency within your heart and soul. Like a sleeping giant within your heart and soul, your honesty and transparency seems to awaken when you enter into the presence of a true and living God, and perhaps even in the presence of others. Tell me—are you tired of being afraid of your honesty? Are you tired of being afraid of your transparency? Are you tired of treating your honesty and transparency as unruly children which need to be hidden and concealed from the eyes of men? Are you tired of feeling as though you have to leave your honesty and transparency at the door of the house of the Lord for fear of what it may cause, and perhaps even what it may cost you if permitted to awaken? I would dare say that there are times within our lives when the only thing we have to offer is our honesty. There are times in our lives when the only thing we have left to offer is the honesty that exists within our heart and soul. If we choose to withhold and hold back that honesty, we have absolutely nothing to offer unto and present before the Lord of hosts. I would dare say that there are times when if we choose to hold back and withhold our honesty from the Lord, we are no better and no different than Ananias and Sapphira who held and kept back a portion of the proceeds of the property they had sold.
I am thoroughly convinced that there are more times than we care to admit when the only thing we have to offer the Lord is our honesty. There are times when the only thing we have left to present unto and bring to the Lord is our honesty. There are times in our lives when petitions and requests simply won’t suffice anymore, and we are confronted with the true nature and condition of our heart and soul. What do you do when the only thing you have left is your honesty—the honesty of your heart and the honesty of your soul? What do you do when you are left alone with the honesty of your heart and the honesty of your soul? Is it possible that men and women aren’t bringing their honesty before the Lord because they aren’t even listening to the voice and sound it makes? In other words, there are men and women who afraid of more than just the honesty of their heart and soul, but are also afraid of the silence. They are absolutely terrified and petrified of the silence because it is in the silence when the inner voice of honesty begins to speak—and not only speak, but speak loudly. Oh, know this and mark this well—there are men and women who are absolutely terrified and petrified of the silence because it is in the silence when who they truly are begins to rise to the surface. It is in the silence where we are truly able to hear and come face to face with the honesty that exists within our hearts and souls. I feel the great need to encourage men and women right now to not be fearful of being left alone with their honesty. I feel the great need to encourage men and women to not be afraid to be left with absolutely nothing but their honesty. Sometimes, your honesty is the greatest gift and the greatest offering you can and will present unto the Lord when you enter into His house, and/or enter into His presence. You are aware of the phrase “Actions speak louder than words,” yet I would present for your consideration the phrase “honesty speaks louder than petitions.” HONESTY SPEAKS LOUDER THAN PETITIONS! HONESTY SPEAKS LOUDER THAN REQUESTS! We tend to think that we will be heard because of our many words and our many petitions and requests—much like Jesus who spoke in the Sermon on the Mount concerning those who think they will be heard of the Father because of their much speaking and their many words. Oh, we must recognize and understand the fact that honesty speaks louder our petitions, and there are times when our petitions aren’t even and can’t even be heard because our honesty is speaking much louder. The Lord has never, can never and will never look upon a man as a man does, but will look upon the heart of a man, for it’s the heart of man that reveals the true nature and stature of a man.
How many times have paraded our petitions and requests before the Lord much like Jesse paraded each of his eldest sons before the prophet Samuel? Jesse presented and paraded the eldest sons born unto him because he thought that surely one of them was that which the Lord required and would be pleased with. What’s more, is that from the eldest of all the sons born to Jesse, Samuel thought they each must surely have been the one anointed and chosen by the Lord. The Lord corrected Samuel’s thinking and His perspective, and declared unto Him that the Lord does not look upon the outward appearance as man does, but looks upon the inner man which is not readily or easily seen by others. We parade our petitions and requests before the Lord as Jesse did his eldest sons thinking that is what the Lord requires, and that is what will please the Lord. Little do we know and little are we aware of the fact that it is what is hidden and concealed in the fields that is what the Lord is truly after. David as a son of Jesse was indeed and in fact a part of Jesse—an expression if you will, of who Jesse was. Jesse paraded and presented what he may have thought were the best and greatest expressions and parts of him before the prophet of the Lord, yet the Lord did not desire, nor had He chosen any of them. Oh, how many times do we leave the part of us that has been chosen by the Lord in the fields? How many times do we and have we even forgotten the part of us which the Lord truly requires and desires because it is in the field looking after sheep? Are you tired of thinking and believing you have to present what you think is the best part of you—the part you think and feel the Lord desires and requires? Are you tired of keeping the part of you the Lord truly requires, desires and has chosen in the fields—perhaps because you feel it is not what the Lord desires, nor is what He will be pleased with? It was only when David was brought before and presented unto Samuel that the anointing oil flowed—a reality we must pay close attention to. We think that anointing oil of the Spirit of the Lord will flow when we parade our petitions and requests before the Lord like Jesse did his eldest sons, yet the oil remains secure in its place. It was only when each of the eldest sons had passed before the prophet, and Samuel asked if Jesse had any other sons that the oil began being prepared to flow. We present our petitions and requests before the Lord as Jesse did his eldest sons, and when we have come to the end of those petitions and requests, the Lord asks us—“HAVE YE NOT ANY OTHERS?”
I believe the Spirit of the Lord is asking us in this moment this very important and very pointed question—HAVE YE NOT ANY OTHERS? You have spent a considerable amount of time parading your requests and petitions before the Lord thinking and believing His anointing oil to flow within and flow upon your life, and yet the Spirit of the Lord has not chosen any of them. Oh that we would come to the end of our petitions and requests before the Lord—especially if we bring and present them simply and solely because we have been taught to do so, or have become comfortable in doing so. Oh that we would come to the end of such petitions and requests, for it is only when we come to the end of those requests the Spirit of the Lord is able to ask us—“HAVE YE NOT ANY OTHERS?” In other words, the Spirit of the Lord would ask us whether or not we have anything else. It’s almost as if the Spirit of the Lord asks us if that’s it—if that’s all we have to offer unto the Lord when we come before Him in His holy presence. Are you tired of hiding and concealing your David? Are you tired of forgetting about your David which you have relegated to the fields to watch the sheep? You may desire the anointing of the Lord to flow within and flow upon your life, yet it can and will only come when we bring David in from the fields. Are you willing to bring David in from the fields? Are you willing to bring David before the prophet of the Lord? Are you willing to bring David before the Lord in order that the anointing oil might flow freely? Oh, how many of us are preventing the anointing oil of the Spirit from flowing freely within and upon our lives because we are choosing to leave David in the fields? How many of us have been content and have grown comfortable leaving David in the fields, and only showing unto others what we perceive as being the best part of us? The time for David to come forth from the fields has come, and we must rise up and bring him forth from that place. The anointing oil of the Spirit cannot and will not flow while David continues to remain hidden and concealed within the fields—hidden and concealed from others. Oh, it is oftentimes that which we forget about, that which we neglect, that which we have ignored that the Lord truly requires, demands and asks of us. It is more often than not that which we choose to keep hidden and concealed which the Lord desires above everything else. We think that we need to parade strength before the Lord when strength is not what we have, but honesty. We think that we need to parade having and holding it all together before the Lord, when that is not the honest part of us at all.
Beloved, you don’t have to put your best foot forward, and you don’t have to present the best side of you. You can present the weak side of you. You can present the broken side of you. You can present the wounded side of you. You can present the hurting side of you. You can present the side of you that is riddled with scars and sores. You don’t have to hide your David in the field any longer, for the Lord is calling you to bring David forth before the prophet of the Lord, and in the presence of the anointing oil. It is only when we bring David in from the fields—when we bring that part of us which is the real us—that we can experience the ministry of the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord. STOP HIDING DAVID IN THE FIELDS! IT’S TIME TO BRING DAVID IN FROM THE FIELDS—INTO THE PLACE OF THE PROPHET OF THE LORD AND THE ANOINTING OIL OF THE SPIRIT. David has remained in the fields long enough. David cannot, should not and must not remain hidden and concealed in the field any longer, for the Lord has need of David. The Lord has need of your honesty in His kingdom. The Lord has need of your transparency within His kingdom. The Lord has need of the real you which you feel you have to keep hidden and concealed in the field tending sheep. The Spirit of the Lord is calling us to stop treating our honesty as a hired servant, or as a slave which we can relegate to work in the fields on our behalf. Oh that we would experience the tremendous freedom and release within our hearts and souls to bring our honesty before the Lord when we enter into His presence. There is no more time for us to keep David hidden in the fields tending sheep when David has been called to strike down the giant, win tremendous victories for the Lord and for His people. There is no more time for us to keep David hidden in the field tending sheep when David has been called to serve before the Lord and reign as king over His heritage and inheritance. Let us recognize and understand that the anointing oil of the Lord—the ministry of the Spirit which we so earnestly and eagerly desire—can and will only flow when we bring David in from the field, and allow him to be seen. David was brought in from the field and appeared before his father, before his brothers, and before the prophet, but most importantly, he was brought in from the field to stand before the Lord. Oh that we would bring our David in from the field and let it stand before our brethren, before our Father which is in heaven, and before the anointing oil of Spirit of the Lord. The time has come for us to bring our honesty in from the field and allow it to stand before our brethren in order that the anointing oil of the Spirit might flow freely within and upon our hearts and lives.