The welcoming heart of God is at the center of a praying life.

Bring Your Real Words to the Welcoming Heart of God

I woke to the sound of my youngest son calling me.

His tone told me everything I needed to know. He was sick, likely nauseated, and he needed help. I sat up in bed, ready to rush to his aid.

As my feet hit the floor, my head cleared, and two facts crowded into my sleepy brain:

1. I had been hearing my husband’s rhythmic breathing, not my son’s calling.

2. My son was not sleeping upstairs. He was over 1,000 miles away (15 hours by car), likely sound asleep in a U.S. Army barracks.

Settling back into cozy sheets and a quiet house, I prayed for my far-away son, and the message of that middle-of-the-night parable was warm beside me:  A mother’s hearing, tuned to her child’s voice and need, is a pale shadow when compared to God’s attentiveness to our prayers.

A mother’s hearing, tuned to her child’s voice and need, is a pale shadow when compared to God’s attentiveness to our prayers.

The welcoming heart of God is at the center of the gospel, and it’s at the center of a praying life. When Jesus offered the invitation, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV), it was not a want ad for the pulled-together and the omni-competent. In A Praying Life, his classic book on prayer, Paul Miller expounds upon the verse this way:

“The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”


It’s been a month of writing about prayer, and the inspiration started with this essay! Several months ago, Rachel Britton reached out to me with an invitation to write for her site, Praying Naturally, and naturally, I was very happy to send some words her way. Pull up a chair and pour yourself another hot mug-full, because I want to reassure you that God delights in hearing YOUR voice. Even your weariness or your distress is worthy content for prayer as you offer up your true self from the heart. I look forward to meeting with you there.

Praying for YOU!

When we come to God carrying nothing but our need, admitting that we are “weary and burdened,” we have truly begun to pray.

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40 thoughts on “Bring Your Real Words to the Welcoming Heart of God”

  1. Yes! I’ve been writing about prayer recently as well, Michele, and I absolutely love your encouragement to come in all our real, messy selves to the welcoming heart of God. What a comfort that He does not turn away but indeed turns towards our weary, overwhelmed cries.


  2. I love the phrase “the welcoming heart of God”. It’s a beautiful way to describe that verse from Matthew. God knows we are not perfect. We are human. And yet, he still welcomes us always to come and unburden ourselves through conversation with him.


  3. A good analogy to God hearing our prayers! And how He welcomes us into His presence no matter what we bring to Him!
    I also loved the top photo of the Maine coast. No mistaking, the rocks and fir trees! And yes, your recent comment about the black flies reminded me of those terrible little ninja bugs that you have no defense against! Hope black fly season will be over soon!


  4. Such an encouraging post, Michele. I appreciate how you turn the obstacles that can keep us from praying into reasons TO pray. Your thoughts about our real words reminds me of one daughter, who often answers every question with the word “good,” while the other daughter’s love and usage of words knows no bounds. Both communicate in their own way, and either way, I love to listen. I don’t think God’s looking for great oratorical skills we pray, just humble and contrite hearts.


  5. Michele, I love how your mum’s heart was still attuned to your son. God knows what his prayer needs were that night. I’m thankful the Lord is ready to listen, ever inclined toward us when we call to Him. The words don’t have to be pretty, just real.


  6. Another wonderful post with great insight! I love the ‘criteria’ of coming to Jesus 🙂

    Thanks for being part of ‘My Corner of the World’ this week!


  7. I’ve always taught my children to pray like they are talking to a friend. God doesn’t need to hear you pray in words and ways that you don’t use. He knows you. He knows what you need; He just wants to hear YOU say it. Thanks for sharing on Traffic Jam Weekend!


  8. Lovely, simple and true. We will feature this post in the next Blogger’s Pit Stop. Well done.


  9. That must have given you a start. It’s amazing how in tune mother’s are with their children. I had this the other day, but I thought I’d heard my Grandma calling me. Thank you for joining us for #mischiefandmemories


  10. I often hear my children’s voices when I’m sleeping. They’re all adults and more than 3000 miles away. It’s very comforting
    Thanks for linking to #pocolo and hope to see you back again soon


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