Praying Naked was the title of a sermon I heard while attending Faith Community Church in Chandler a lifetime ago. As you can see, it really stuck with me. It is a bold and intimate title. The content of that message has been stored in the far recesses of my mind, but the focus of the message is front and center for me almost every day.
Because “nakedness” is a daily struggle for me. When I am naked, I am without covering, without protection, undisguised. I am just me, with all of the blemishes, scars, and imperfections exposed for the world to see. It requires a kind of vulnerability that just doesn’t feel safe.
I have heard some people talk about not wanting to pray in front of others because their words are too plain, their hearts too fragile, or their thoughts too unprecise. But God sees through well-adorned words and fractured souls to the truth.
Every day, I remind myself to strip down before I pray. God sees my nakedness no matter how I try to cover or disguise it.
I am fully exposed to Him every day of my life. You are too.
Sometimes getting naked is fast and easy. Other times it requires more work.
What do I need to strip off?
- Shame – Before I talk to God, I have to let go of past sin and humiliation. God has forgiven me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I need to stand before him as a beloved child, not an outcast. I think about the story of the adulterous woman, condemned by the religious scholars and Pharisees. Jesus reminded her accusers of their own iniquities (because he saw their nakedness too) and showed grace and mercy to the object of their scorn, challenging her to live differently.
- Pride – My conversations with God should be honest, not showy. He does not need a long list of the good things I’ve done. He does not want to hear scholarly words or care about the Bible references I can quote. He doesn’t want adornments, he wants a sincere relationship. Jesus teaches about this in his sermon on the mount.
- Desire – Prayer is a seeking process, not a dictation. When I bow at God’s throne with a need, I have to let go of a desired outcome, praying in faith that He will respond in HIS wisdom, not mine. Even Jesus had to do that when He pleaded with his father from the garden. Not my will, but yours, my Father.
- Falseness – There is no intimacy in insincerity. God can see right through that. He does not want me to just parrot platitudes or pretend. When I am angry, in despair, empty, struggling… I need to share it honestly with God. He sees it anyway. The Psalms of King David give us a glimpse of bare-naked seeking of God’s will, wisdom, provision, and protection.
- Defensiveness – I already have an advocate in Jesus; HE defends me before the throne of God. God does not need to hear babbling excuses or be talked into loving me. He seeks a humble and deeply sorry heart. I am forgiven, but that does not mean that I ignore my sin. King David gives an example of that kind humble and contrite heart in Psalm 51.
- Strength – I have faced many challenges in my life and, many times, I default to relying on my own strength to get through them. God does not expect me to be strong. He expects me to reside in HIS strength. He is glorified most when I am incapable, weak, or overwhelmed. When it is clear that I cannot make it through life without him, He is glorified with every step forward I make. My strength is weak. Even at God’s weakest moment, He is strong. 1 Corinthians 1
The intimacy of naked prayer can be uncomfortable, I am deeply grateful that I have a God who is patient with me when I leave some adornment or rag covering my imperfect heart. But I keep trying to bare myself to God completely…praying naked.
What do you need to take off before you pray?
Lord, You know all of the ugly parts of me, and you still love me. Nothing can replace that. It is what I live for. Thank you for giving me value. Because I’m your child, I can walk through the toughest times with you by my side. I am not alone.
Most days, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do or where I’m supposed to go or who I’m supposed to bless. Life can be pretty confusing. I just know you’re beside me. I trust you to use me in small ways every day and to give me opportunities to share your hope with the people I meet. You will guide my steps and speak through me even though I feel inadequate. I am available and I pray that I am obedient.
Please help me let go of the things that keep me from fully stepping into your light and fulfilling the purposes you have for me. They weigh me down so much some days that I feel like I am drowning. You have already let go of these things…they are forgiven. Help me forgive myself.
Help me keep my eyes on you. Fixed on you. Steady. Eliminate the distractions that make me shake in fear or forget who I am before you. Dissect my heart and remove anything that does not glorify you. Make me fully yours.
I know there are a lot more things I can pray for, Lord, and you know them too. I am thankful that they are not in my hands, but are in yours.
I love you, Lord. Thank you for loving me. Dee