Getting Honest With God in Prayer

by Crystal Paine July 27, 2023
"Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!" Psalm 102:1-2 (ESV)

I sat on the worn gray couch in our living room with tears streaming down my face on another Sunday morning.

Why, God?
Why did You allow this hard thing to happen in my life?
It doesn’t make any sense!
My heart hurts so badly!

The past few months, I had been walking with a small group of women through a discipleship program at our church. I was learning and growing spiritually and uncovering a lot of areas in my life where there were dysfunctions and unhealthy patterns and beliefs. This week, we were studying lament.

Our project was to spend some time in stillness, allow ourselves to have honest prayers with God, and open up our hearts to let God into the darkest, hidden places. I started to go back to times in my past where there were deep wounds and hurts, let myself acknowledge these to the Lord, and express sadness verbally to God — instead of stuffing down my feelings or convincing myself it wasn’t a big deal.

It was as if the floodgates opened.

Years of pain and hurt and grief spilled out. It felt weird. It felt vulnerable. But it also felt really cleansing. I could just come to Jesus as I was and share exactly what I was feeling.

“Lament” is a word we often don’t hear sermons or read devotions about, but it’s woven all throughout Scripture. In the book of Psalms, David set a great example for us of what it looks like to lament.

In Psalm 102, we find him calling out to the Lord: “Hear my prayer, O LORD; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call!” (Psalm 102:1-2).

I love that he wasn't afraid to say out loud exactly what he was feeling. He wanted to make sure God heard him and answered him. So he repeated this plea in multiple ways to God.

And then he got really gut-honest about his feelings in Psalm 102:3-5: “For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh” (ESV).

We may feel like we need to censor or sanitize our prayers so they sound more “spiritual,” but David, who was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, ESV) sets an example of what passionate prayers of lament look like.

For me, the Sunday of sobbing on the couch led to a journey of healing and wholeness in Jesus I never would have experienced had I kept holding back my feelings instead of bringing my honest prayers of lament to the Lord.

God wants us to pour out our hearts to Him. The act of genuinely acknowledging our fears, our sadness and our frustration in prayer will not alienate us from God; it will draw us closer to Him because it is an act of trust and vulnerability. “He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (Psalm 102:17, ESV).

Heavenly Father, thank You that I don’t have to hide my deepest fears, my greatest hurts and my heartfelt longings from You. Thank You that You welcome me just as I am and You want me to share my heart freely with You, so I don’t have to pretend or be anything other than exactly who I am when I come to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


If you long for deeper connection to God but aren’t sure where to start, our next study is for you … Praying Through the Psalms: 30 Days To Uncomplicate How You Talk to God, starting August 7 in the free First 5 mobile app! Study a new type of prayer each week with daily questions to deepen your understanding, and use the psalms as a guide to communicate with God when you don’t have the words. Grab a copy of the study guide today!






To connect with Crystal and see behind the scenes of her very real and not-perfect life as an adoptive/special-needs mom and biological mom of six kids (ages 18 down to a baby), follow her on Instagram.


Psalm 130:1-2, “Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!” (ESV).

Spend some time in stillness today, and allow yourself to have honest prayers with God. What are some of your greatest worries, biggest fears and long-hidden hurts? Have you expressed these to God? Bring your full self to Him today in prayer. Don’t stress over saying the right words — just freely talk to God and share what’s heavy on your heart just as you would with a very trusted friend.

If you want to share your prayers with us in the comments, we'd love to hear from you!

© 2023 by Crystal Paine. All rights reserved.

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