Friday, October 12, 2007

The Chronicles of Answered Prayer - "Excuses, Excuses"

The Chronicles of Answered Prayer
"Excuses, Excuses"

By Jason Ingram


In this article, I lay down some ideas about why Christians are to pray, and focus more on why we do not pray. I wonder now if there are Christians who read this and take offense thinking, "well of course I pray, who does this guy think he is trying to get me to pray more?" More prayer is not about getting more "brownie points" or striving to work at being more pious. I like to think about it as being closer to God, having more love, joy and more of the Spirit's power in your life. As you read, you will find that more prayer should not make you more weary, but just the opposite.

If you are someone who does not pray, or perhaps you feel that your prayers don't go beyond the ceiling, I hope you find out the reasons that are holding you back from a daily life of prayer and devotion. We all have excuses why we fail to pray, and I believe that this article is an attempt to expose some of those reasons why we don't pray, or perhaps we pray but are not making the God-connection that we need.

Shooting At Random:

I have a friend that I have known since the mid 90's that has a wonderful gift of mercy. You call him with any need, and he's there for you. That's his way of being an evangelist, and its a much better way to reach out to the down and out than by simply preaching. Before my trip to the mission field, he let me live with him for the few months when I was preparing. Much of my preparation was through extended times of prayer, and when he found out about it he felt convicted about his own prayer life. I guess he really did not pray at all privately, but maybe very little. When he did pray in church, it felt a bit "horizontal", meaning focused more on making a good prayer while in the presence of others as opposed to "vertical" prayers focused heavenward.

The result of his ministry seemed to me to be like he was firing randomly and hoping to someday hit a target. Let me explain: James 5:15-16 mentions that there is effectual prayer (so there must be non-effective prayer as well) and it makes "tremendous power available, dynamic in its working". No prayer, no power. There are times when you happen to be where and when God wants you to be somewhere, and a loving word and a helping hand can be enough to allow God to open ones heart, but only when that person is ready.

This dear saint seemed to be burned out much of the time, reacting to other's needs every day. He also got entangled in a lot of drama because of the type of needs of the folks he was trying to help. It was as if there were people who were ready to meet Christ all over his town, and yet he was reaching out to a lot of folks that were ready only for a handout. I remembered that very few of the many people he ministered to really stuck with the faith. One good example I remember is someone who was involved in the sex industry came to church for a few years or more and even had others come to church as well. All of a result of this man's ministry. I do not mean to criticize him, I just want to make a point that an effective praying Christian will be led by God about when, where and who to go to with the power of God to back it up.

I really do admire this man though. I have met many Christians that pray and pray but don't put "feet" to their prayers. I envision two folded hands in prayer with a pair of feet walking the hands to be the answer to the prayer. As silly as that image sounds, its a good picture of a Christian. Someone who prays and obeys. Giving action to the leadings of the Holy Spirit with the power of the Holy Spirit (through effective prayer). Sometimes we are the answer to our own prayer, and there are times when God will need to send someone else. Prayer brings God's plans and works to earth. If it were automatic, we would see spontaneous supernatural experiences happening all the time without anyone's cooperation.

My Personal Prayer Story:

When I first got a hold of this concept, I had been a Christian just over a few years and I began to really pray for my community and reach out. I would pray for about an hour or so, then get in my car and let God lead me. I ended up one time at someone's private studio where a lady was getting stoned. After talking with her, she shared with me about how Jesus had come to her recently and that she made some kind of vow to God. Not realizing what had happened to her, I was able to explain the Gospel. There was another time that I was led to go to two different places one night bumping into the same teenager who was running from God. One time while preaching in the smoking section of a Denny's in the middle of the night, a young lady told me that God had sent me as a sign to keep her baby that she was wondering whether to about or not. I have pulled a passed out Native man out of the snow in the woods, the man crying out to Jesus after I silently prayed for him. One time, after praying over my whole city block preparing for a home meeting, a drunk girl fell in the street as she got close to the house. As her friends and I carried her to the house she became conscious enough to receive Jesus. I saw her later at a Christian teen club wanting to live right. All of these experiences started with prayer, and there is no way that I could do any of this without God's help.

Since coming out in 2006, my prayer and devotional life has really changed. I see the first seven years of my Christian life as a continuous upward spiritual journey, getting stronger in spirit and knowledge. Then the following seven years were more of just the opposite. After returning from a successful overseas mission trip I had many brutal experiences where I felt as if I was crucified by the church. This was also a period in my life where I could no longer wear the straight guy mask and took an interest in my gay desires. Those seven years were a downward portion of my spiritual journey. Part of the problem is the church culture I was in was completely unaware of taking someone through a coming out experience and the gay culture was threatening to my faith. The church also painted a false picture of what it is for a Christian to be gay. I saw it through their eyes, that there was a paradigm of either straight Christian living, or careless godless gay living. Why I am going into this is simply to state that when I look back at the spiritual disciplines in my first seven years and my second set of seven years in Christ, the only real failures I have had were a failure to pray. The stories I shared above were in the heights of my Christian experience, and I owe it to the Holy Spirit's work. I also could not be a part of any of these experiences if I had not prayed accurately and fervently.

Prayer In Christian History:

Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure - DL Moody

There are many gifted and called ministers that don't have much of a life of prayer and devotion to God. Does God use them? Surly yes. However, without that daily connection to God, the minister will rely more on their own strength, instead of the power of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian has a level of prayer they have in their daily lives. If you study much 19th century church history, you will read about the evangelism in what we call the Second Great Awakening. I have heard it said that the converts of Charles Finney stuck with the faith much more than Moody's who many of them seemed to fall away from the faith after conversion. I realize that this is a controversial statement, but I believe this to be true, and I will tell you why: Finney's ministry was noted with evidence of the workings of the Holy Spirit (although sometimes strange and hard to understand) and people in America had powerful experiences with God under his ministry. It is also noted what a great value prayer played in Finney's ministry. You find a Christian operating in the supernatural power of God, I will show you a Christian who makes prayer a priority in their life. Smith Wigglesworth from Wales, who ministered in his old age in the beginning of the twentieth century has been known to say that he did not go for thirty minutes without praying. I also heard that he prayed from four to eight in the morning.

Now I get to the main part of this article that answers this very important question:

"Why do Christians not pray?"

Here are some reasons that I thought of, however I am sure there are more...

Lack of Discipline:

Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God. - Andrew Murray

Just like any committed relationship takes consistent care and maintenance, so does a relationship with God. A loving relationship needs daily affirmation of love, clear communication and quality time. The key word here is daily. Have you ever heard about the story about the old couple where the wife asked the husband why he doesn't tell her that he loves her? He responded that he said "I love you" when they were first married and if he ever changed his mind that he would let her know. We are not to worship our loved ones, however we are to show that we love and adore the ones we love. Have you ever learned your partner's love languages? How about God's love languages?

Every religion has disciplines and learned practices, many have rituals and ceremonies that need to be practiced with precision. The Christian faith does not require outward forms of perfection, just a pure heart. A heart that has been cleansed by faith in the work of Christ and continuing to live out this inner purity.

The danger of discipline for the follower of Christ is that when you follow Jesus, He has a tendency to take you places you don't expect. So once you find a spiritual discipline that works, the Lord will want you to move on many times because God does not want us to put our faith in our devotions, God does not want us to become too familiar with practices least we forget Who we are doing all of this for. For example, when you find a way to get your prayer answered on Monday, you may find that God is leading you to pray in a totally different way on Tuesday to get the same results.

We must always remember that God is a Person, and not a thing. I do not believe that God is a mystical force, or that somehow "God" is simply the sum total of all matter in the universe including good and evil. God has feelings. God has a Spirit like we do. I will even go so far to say that God has a body, and I believe that body is Jesus Christ. When it comes to the Deity of Christ, there are many little variations in these doctrines, and its not a big deal. What I am trying to communicate here is that Christianity is about a relationship, not rituals. Prayer can easily turn into a ritual, and we need to be careful about that. What I am saying about God being a person is that this relationship demands that we take action daily to cultivate and grow in this relationship. This takes discipline, and the good news is that habits grow on us (some studies report about three to six weeks to form a habit) until after some time its not so hard after a while. In fact prayer is the opposite of someone addicted to drugs. It takes more of the drug to produce less of an effect. Every year of your life of prayer, worship and devotion; you in fact get more blessings out of less effort the more you live in the Spirit! The closer you get to God (and I'm not kidding here) the more "high" you get spending time in the heavenly bliss of the Holy Spirit. You can in fact form a spiritual habit, and even become "addicted" to prayer!


"I just did not feel like God heard me or accepted of me... I heard so much from the pulpit about how wrong it is to be gay that I gave up." Many of us in the lesbian and gay community can relate to this. I believe that this is the #1 reason why we don't pray. This paragraph is short because I have a teaching entitled "Not Guilty". This article goes into depth about how guilt and shame is such a hindrance into entering into the presence of God and how the gay and lesbian community can fall into a shame based self-image so easily.


There is a mighty lot of difference between saying prayers and praying. - John G. Lake

Many of us don't realize that we need to pray; and what is the eternal value of a life of devotion. Some think that prayer is not for them, that its only for nuns and monks. Some replace prayer with just doing mental practices. Others may think that they are not smart enough. Many use prayer only for emergencies. Some pray only out of prayer books, or in the presence of others like saying "grace" before a meal.

I think some of the most common misunderstands about prayer come from, I hate to say it: churches. I have heard a lot of prayers that are not based on Scripture but more on a particular denomination's tradition. Tradition is not wrong in itself, however we need to challenge any Christian tradition that does not meet the principals taught in the New Testament. What I mean by principal is to take what you believe was meant for us to practice instead of taking a passage literally or out of context. One example is what many call "the Lord's prayer". Jesus taught on prayer, gave an example saying that we were to pray "in this manner". Jesus never said for us to pray by quoting that passage word for word. There are many other prayers in the New Testament, my favorites being the prayers of Paul. We can also gain some prayer principals in the Old Testament as well, especially the Psalms. I personally love to study the prayer lives of great women and men in church history.
Some of them include: Saint Teresa of Avila (Spain, 1515-1582), Saint Columba (UK, 521-597) Aimee Semple McPherson (Canada/US, 1890-1944), John G. Lake, (UK, S. Africa, US, 1870-1935) as well as others I have mentioned and/or quoted in this article. Just like it takes knowledge in order to effectively communicate in a committed relationship, it takes knowledge to understand prayer.

This is another misunderstanding: It is that prayer is based only on sincerity. Praying with honesty and sincerity is essential for answered prayer, and we must understand also that we are required to have knowledge of prayer as well. That's basically what I am trying to do with my writings on prayer, to shed light on the subject of prayer in order to help equip the gay affirming church movement. Jesus said in John 4 that we are to worship the Father in Spirit and truth. Can this principal be applied to prayer? Worship and prayer are both forms of devotion, so I would say that worshipping in Spirit and truth applies to prayer. Just as we learn and grow in our knowledge of God and prayer, we should also not get too far off into our intellect, but get "into the Spirit". The Spirit is our destination, however it does indeed take some knowledge to get there.
"Emergence" 2004 -By Jason Ingram

The Flesh:

E. M. Bounds, who wrote many historic books on prayer (one of them I have been reading for about a decade it is so heavy!) said: "Prayer is the creator as well as the channel of devotion. The spirit of devotion is the spirit of prayer. Prayer and devotion are united as soul and body are united, as life and the heart are united. There is no real prayer without devotion, no devotion without prayer."

Prayer, as wonderful as it is can be taxing. Prayer can be hard. Prayer can seem to make no sense. Prayer can seem to use up our time and energy, however connecting with the strength of Almighty God can actually benefit us to where we find ourselves having more productive time and strength. I met a missionary who was back from India one time at a church and invited him over for some left over spaghetti. He mentioned that would pray himself to sleep every night. I would love to be there some day with that kind of devotion. It is so refreshing to associate with folks that challenge your Christianity.

The flesh is our body. In addition, I have heard it taught that the realm of the flesh also includes the human mind. Christianity can appear to the intellectual world as seeming anti-intellectual. If you read the works of C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and other great thinkers of Christendom, you will find that there is great room for intellect in the faith. Unfortunately, there seems to be not much room in much of Christian culture for intellectuals. Part of this comes from negative aspects of church leadership from the Dark Ages until now that have to do with control and keeping people ignorant. (I have been in the church since 1994 and honestly, its not nearly as bad as some have made it out to be!) Another reason why there is a sort of anti-intellectual thrust in much of the church is this principal of the "carnal mind" which Paul teaches in the book of Romans, as well as other portions of the New Testament.

The carnal mind, or what is also called the mind of the flesh represents thoughts and ideas that go contrary to our spiritual life. Romans 12:2 teaches about renewing your mind. Paul, writing to the Ephesians also uses the term to be "renewed in the spirit (attitude) of your mind. The flesh and the mind are connected. Imagine you waking up groggy early in the morning with not enough sleep. I guarantee your thoughts will reflect your body's feelings. The emotions, the body and the mind all control each other and influence each other.

I personally believe that when we hear the word "soul" in relation to the New Testament in a Christian context, that it refers to three components of self: the mind, the will and emotions. Emotions are real and important. We are not to pretend that they are not there, because emotions can be our warning light when it comes to things that need to be dealt with. The issue here is that emotions should not lead the Christian. The will is simply the final decision making process. Christian growth can be seen as a continuing surrender of the human will to the will of God. The mind in itself has a "default mode" that is not favorable to the life in the Spirit. In fact the Bible calls the carnal mind "enmity" with God. Yes my mind can be God's enemy if not spiritually renewed.

When it comes to prayer, this wandering mind of ours in its default mode will not want to pray. Everyone can relate to this. There is always something that the mind can find that is more important or something to do that makes more sense than praying. Also, the emotions in charge of our morning will not want to pray. "I don't feel like it!" That's the voice of emotion. "I just don't want to and I am not going to" can be the voice to the will. The flesh will suddenly get hungry or tired when it is time to pray. Let me say that again: The flesh will suddenly get hungry or tired when it is time to pray. Its so true when it comes to daily devotions! So there is nothing wrong with thinking, new ideas and being an intellectual, just as long as the ways of thinking are not in contrary to the Spirit.

Prince of the Power of the Air:

When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy. - Corrie Ten Boom

In the New Testament, the devil is mentioned as being "the Prince of the Power of the Air" which represents the invisible realm of earth. Also in 2 Corinthians 4:4 the "god of this world" can blind minds so they can see the truth. This is also true for believers. The devil can blind Christians from doing what God wants them to do. He uses distractions, thoughts, ideas and anything, even religion to keep people from God's best. His realm of operation is the mind. The mind works with the will and emotions.

Simply stated, if there is a devil, or a negative force in the world as some see it, this kingdom in opposition to the Kingdom of God will try to influence God's people to prevent God's kingdom from being established on earth. One of the primary targets this demonic operation will come against is effective prayer. If the devil can't stop you from praying, he may try to get you to pray ritualistically and ineffectively. He will try to keep you ignorant about prayer and use the ways of the flesh to try to daily sway you away from your "power time" with God in prayer. This may all sound paranoid, and I realize that there is a lot of stigma about folks that talk about "the devil! the devil!" being everywhere trying to get you. I personally do not think that way, and yet there is a principal in the New Testament that we are not to be "ignorant of his devices".

The more you study the Holy Bible, you will find the Christian has been given authority over Satan and his kingdom (more about this topic in my four part online video series "Bossy"). The subject of Demonology can be spooky, however if we keep our focus on God, and who we are as Christians "in Christ" like the New Testament says, we will see that we have the power because the Greater One lives in us!

Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray. - The Kneeling Christian


I have studied about Christian communities whether Catholic or Protestant, and one thing I see that is consistent in what I have found is that in these structured environments, people spend a lot of time in prayer. Some of these communities however, require strict times of prayer that it has a tendency to produce more of a "dead ritual" than a sweet communion that prayer should be.

I do see a positive thing about having others being involved in your prayer life is that you are accountable with your prayer discipline. I got the wonderful opportunity to live with a pastor couple on a ranch in southern rural Oklahoma. I was in a daze one morning and had one of those frustrated times in prayer that I had given up on. So I got up from the guest room to find the old rancher smiling at me and with his strong southern accent asked me, "did you pray through?" Praying through is an old Pentecostal term about when you spend enough time in prayer until you sense a spiritual breakthrough. I saw Kenneth E. Hagin describe it as hitting a "gusher". Brother Hagin began praying several hours a day until he prayed through. Then he said that as the weeks went by, it got easier and easier to get into the Spirit. Six hours turned to four, than down to one hour until he was able to maintain like a consistent walk in the spirit.

I am fortunate to have a loving partner who is sincere before God. When we first met, I felt ashamed of my life of prayer and thought that if I was in a gay relationship that I was somehow not supposed to pray. Because of that I would get so down and confused. Little by little I regained my prayer life until Tom saw how valuable it was to me. When I asked him if he ever wanted to join me in my daily devotional time, he already wanted to! We have been doing our devotionals since 2006 and it has become very important to him. We hear from God together, pray for each other, we pray for our friends and family and also intercede for our dear friends like you that we meet online. If one of us forgets or one of us just does not want to do it (yes me, the moderator of the Gay Prayer Resource does not want to pray at times!) most of the time the other will encourage the devotional time to happen.

"The secret of praying is praying in secret." - Leonard Ravenhill

The negative side of having others involved with your devotions, is that you may loose the joy of knowing that only God knows about your special time. You can still go over and above what others know about your prayer time. In fact, you may find that your secret times are your best times. Tell someone that you are going out for a long walk and find a secluded place somewhere and hang out with the Lord. You will love it!

There is another issue about why people don't pray and it has to do with mental issues. This is something I deal with on a daily basis, and is real to me enough to write an article on mental wellness and prayer. Wellness is not just about mental conditions (such as clinical depression) but also on emotional issues as well. I simply can't accuse a mental or emotionally suffering Christian of being a flesh ruled carnally minded person, just because of what they go through? How about someone who is mute? They literally can not say a prayer. I would love to do more studies about other ways of communing with God, but that's for another time.


I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer. -- Martin Luther

With all of this said about why we are to pray and why we don't pray, I hope that all my readers can make an informed decision about what they are going to do with their relationship with God. We can simply look at this as two roads to take in our service to the continuing work of Christ: Are we to work out of our power (our human strength) and suffer burn out (and what I mentioned earlier as "shooting at random"); or are we to "suffer" (because it does indeed demand sacrifice of time and effort) in prayer and experience God's rest, God's refreshing, God's strength and direction. It is amazing how many Christian ministers and organizations get anything done without the power of the Holy Spirit, but I think there are many things done for God in human strength. It doesn't have to be that way though. In some ways I am grateful for my many weaknesses. Although I won't get into all of them now, I will tell you that I have enough about me now that nearly drives me to God every day. Some folks operate in their natural born giftings of leadership, abilities and a drive for success. They are more prone to error and pride. With having a musical gift, I admit that I can easily relate to this issue because I can so quickly rely on the gift than on God.

Christians that never pray are not doomed to eternal destruction just for not praying. Prayer does not make you more loved by God. You don't loose your relationship with God if you stop praying. God never forces us to pray. If you pray less that brother so-and-so, does that make you less of a Christian? No. Prayer is just one aspect of the Christian life, and it also happens to be the theme of this body of work, so its obvious that I will over emphasize the subject of prayer. However, with any good thing, we must not get lost in just one subject. Remember what a Christian is commanded to do: Love.

Earnestness is good and impressive: genius is gifted and great. Thought kindles and inspires, but it takes a diviner endowment, and more powerful energy than earnestness or genius or thought to break the chains of sin, to win estranged and deprived hearts to God, to repair the breaches and restore the Church to her old ways of purity and power. Nothing but the anointing of the Holy Spirit can do this. -E. M. Bounds

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Chronicles of Answered Prayer: “Not Guilty”

The Chronicles of Answered Prayer

“Not Guilty”
By Jason Ingram

A “Transparent” Introduction:

This message has been on my heart for about four months now and there is so much in me to get out. As I write this, I am hoping that I don’t explode with all these ideas. I guess I failed to write this work for so long because I felt as if I needed to gain some kind of deeper knowledge and experience about the subject before I felt adequate to tackle such a difficult issue. That also shows my readers that I indeed currently deal with guilt and shame and I have not “arrived” when it comes to living completely and daily free from guilt and shame feelings. This is where I am at in my journey and I hope that the things I have learned will help you in your life of prayer and devotion to God. Be blessed as you read.

I believe this message is so important to the LGBT community, and I hope my readers take it to heart. I also hope that those who oppose my view about gays and the church will see gay and lesbian Christians just as forgiven as straight Christians. What I want to communicate here in this article is that guilt is a very important issue when it comes to answered prayer. Guilt can be something we feel because we have done wrong, however instead of the guilt causing sincere spiritual conviction, there is a tendency for guilt to cause us to run from God as opposed to running to God. We also need to understand different forms of guilt and what shame is and how these all affect our life of prayer.

Guilt and Shame:

I had it explained to me this past summer that guilt says: “I have done something wrong”, while shame says: “I am wrong.” I grew up in an environment where I was praised for what I do (performance) however I felt like I was being put down for who I was. If I feel guilty for something that is not wrong, there is no way to right those wrongs and as a result is a deep rooted feeling of shame. There are other reasons why many of us feel shame including being unwanted and abused, especially sexual abuse.

Shame is a huge hindrance to a confident life of prayer and devotion to God. A believer who has a shame based view of self may come to God with a lot of self-put-downs. This all sounds pious and even impressive when praying in the presence of others, however many times this comes out of false guilt (a guilt that stays, shame) and I suppose I can even call it false humility at times.

False Guilt:

As I mentioned in the last paragraph, there is something I will call “false guilt” that is basically like a false accusation that is not dealt with. False guilt can be seen as a feeling of having done something wrong when really there was no wrong done. You may also see false guilt as shame. This can come from by many means. Some of them I will share:

A hyper-sensitive conscience
This describes an ultra-introspective person who always feels a sense of guilt and shame that she or he feels “I need to figure out what bad things I have done and deal with every one of them in order for me to feel OK”

Gay shame
For the lesbian and gay community this is especially important to identify and any of us who were raised in conservative Christianity or who have spent much of our adult life (like me) in churches that preach that it is a sin to be homosexual; as well as pressure form society to be straight

False legalistic teaching

Some churches have extreme doctrines that say things like we have to observe the Old Testament in order to please God, that if a woman cuts her hair she’s “going to hell” (evangelist Jesse Duplantis met a guy one time that actually believed this based on his denomination), some believe they have to drop out of society believing that anything of the world is evil, also, I have been part of a movement of the church that although is positive about healing has a tendency to put pressure on the suffering to have less “unbelief”

The accuser of the brethren
The book of Revelation calls Satan the “Accuser of the Brethren” trying to find fault because he knows that if a believer can get into shame and not pray effectively, that Christian will get way off track (Rev 12:10)

Words of others
This is a major component of producing a shame-based self image, for instance people growing up being told things like “shame on you” on a regular basis

Poor Me, Pour Me A Drink – Shame Based Attitudes:

Basically, shame gets someone to think something like, “no matter how good I try to be, I might as well give up on trying to be good”. Giving up on growing spiritually, giving up on prayer, going to church and church involvement and ultimately giving up on loving others. I will be so bold to say that out of all the reasons why Christians don’t pray, this is probably reason #1. We all have excuses why we don’t pray, but why do we make those excuses in the first place. (Please read the article: Excuses, Excuses)

One of the reasons we fail to pray may be that we feel to ashamed to came to God, or that God will not accept us. The mind is powerful and makes a lot of decisions almost automatically because of the way it has been “programmed”. In this case, a shame based person has clearly been programmed to think that way, and the input can come from many sources including religion. Another contributor to a shame based view of self is self-reinforcement. This is where the individual is accustomed to shame based self talk and like a snowball rolling down a steep hill, the problem escalates.

Several years ago, a Native American recovering alcoholic I used to work for in Oregon mentioned this condition of “poor me, pour me a drink”. We are so beaten up by the world that we beat up on ourselves and ultimately others get hurt in the process. A person in this state must choose where they are going to “hit bottom” and find their way back up. We realize that prayer is not a selfish act, however when you think about it, prayer is the best thing you can do for yourself! Its your way back up. If you feel like you have hit bottom, you are likely to hit even lower, and lower if you don’t do something right now. Prayer is the first place to begin. Prayer allows God to work in your life. You do not have to wait for some kind of supernatural thing to compel you to pray. Take action now to pray and then get the supernatural in your life as a result.

(Photo By Jason Ingram)

Answered Prayer:

Last week, my partner was on his way picking me up from work when he began to pray. Soon after that a CD from the passenger side sun visor slipped out and hit him, and landed right in the center of the console beside him. It was part of a Joyce Meyer message that he needed to hear that moment concerning some issues that the Lord was dealing with him about. It really scared him, until he realized that it was God’s way of getting his attention. Five days later I was praying for him while I was at work, and he had a major breakthrough that day. Prayer truly allows God to move, and even for gay couples!

I can’t tell you how many times that the Lord has delivered me from feelings of guilt, shame and fear. I will randomly open one of my Bibles and I will be at (or near) a passage that I need at the moment. In times like this, the Holy Spirit has taken me to passages like Romans 8:1 or Psalm 32 for instance. Sometimes I go to a passage like Psalm 51 which is about repentance and I realize that I got off into disobedience to something that God wanted me to do or not do. I also go through passages in the Bible that may not apply to me at the moment as well. Please realize that I am not floating around in some super spiritual dimension. On the other hand, I do see evidence of God working in my life, just about on a daily basis, and I am not bragging; its just what a little bit of prayer does (and sometimes a lot!) to a big God.

Shame and Insecurity:

Shame not only separates us from God, but shame can separate us from others. If I feel that something is wrong with me, I will try to act like someone else, which will not cultivate long term relationships, but maybe a few short friendships; or I will isolate myself entirely. When it comes to relationships, shame says “if you really get to know me you will find that I am a bad person so I will either keep you at an arm’s length, or reject you now so I will not have to suffer the pain of being rejected”.

If anyone wants to see if they love God, all you have to do is to see if you love people. The way you see God is similar to how you think others are seeing you. If you think other people see you as being a filthy, worthless, useless, outcast; it will be difficult to come to God with a deep realization of the fact that you are loved, accepted and forgiven. This greatly affects your life of prayer and devotion to God, just as your conversations with others may be strained if you try to operate under a shame-based self image.

Joyce Meyer teaches about how she was (what she calls) “addicted” to guilt. Growing up being sexually abused by her father, she was so used to feeling shame that she was to the point where she believed “I only felt right if I felt wrong”. I can relate. Imagine if you were so used to feeling that you are wrong, that if you were feeling that you were OK would seem like a far fetched, foreign feeling that somehow made you into someone that is arrogant or self-righteous?

I want to tell you that just being lesbian or gay does not make you wrong, just as being a man or a woman makes you somehow less than others, or some kind of a mistake. Even an unplanned birth is no “accident” like some children and adults feel. We are all special to God, and we all have a purpose in life.


If there is false guilt, is there such thing as “good” guilt? Sounds strange that there could be a true guilt if guilt is something that we don’t want in our lives. Look at it this way: What if every judge in the whole world decides that all guilt is bad and therefore pronounces everyone as innocent without any consequences of anyone’s harm they have done?

There is an umpire inside of us that declares whether something is right or wrong: our conscience. A conscience is not Jiminy Cricket, but if you want to use that picture, I suppose that may help to understand how this works. Hollywood sees this process as an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other. Although it may feel that the struggle to decide right from wrong is likened to that picture, I see it quite differently. I see it as several forces at work in our decision making process:

First, there is our flesh: self... our mind... our own wants and even needs. This can also be explained in the context of a Christian who has truly experienced the cleansing and regeneration through the new birth in Christ as having a new nature, and an old nature like I am explaining here. This stubborn old self needs to be disciplined and controlled through spiritual growth and sanctification. Have you ever tried to walk a big crazy dog and had it walk you instead of you walking the dog? After the dog is trained to obey you can keep it more under control, but it takes time and work. Our “carnal” nature needs to be tamed as well.

Another force at work is the demonic element. There is an invisible world that wants to influence the minds of all of us to harm ourselves and others. What may start as a suggestion or an idea may evolve into a driving obsession to so a particular thing that is ultimately destructive. It sounds simple-minded, however I think this makes sense: If there is a devil, wouldn’t he try to deceive the guilty into thinking they are righteous and the righteous into feeling like their guilty? Both attitudes produce some kind of harm to the human race and both attitudes (of self-righteousness and false guilt) bring both kinds of people into doing what is wrong.

The positive forces at work start with the human spirit, the conscience and the Holy Spirit. I see the conscience as being simply a work of the human spirit. A reborn believer in Christ will have their spirit alive to the Spirit of Christ, and will have a quickened sensitive conscience, being ever careful of being an example of love and not of self.

The greatest force on our side is the Kingdom of God. God, Christ and the Holy Spirit working along with heaven’s angles are working to gently prod us into doing what is right. If faced with a moral dilemma, the believer should call upon the name of the Lord for help. Prayer can be a great way to make good choices.

No Condemnation:

Simply stated, conviction is what some call the “still small voice” of the conscience saying gently and lovingly “you are guilty” of what ever the transgression was and always provides a way out of the guilt. Condemnation is when there are feelings of fear and shame that there is no way out of the guilt. (Rom 8)

Pattern of guilt
Guilt will produce shame if not dealt with
Shame will produce feelings of rejection and abandonment because of the outcome having to do with isolation from a protector (parents, authority and even the way God is perceived)
Rejection, abandonment and isolation will always produce fear (separation form the protector, in this case the way someone sees God)
Fear will produce anger as a desperate insecure attempt to control one’s environment so they won't get hurt
Anger will ultimately end up as anger toward God

You show me a person that is angry at others, I will show you someone who, without even realizing it most of the time, is blaming God. Blaming God for apparently “allowing” others to abuse, mistreat, hurt and use. Angry at God for apparently not being there to protect and even purposely cause bad things to happen. Many people, even sincere folks whether Christians or not live in this angry state of mind. This hardness of heart blocks the touch of God from their lives. If this is you, there is hope.

Too Good To Be True:

So whether someone is guilty of doing wrong, or simply feels wrong, guilt can, and must be dealt with. One way many people deal with guilt is to simply deny it. Yes, denial. As silly as it sounds, I am amazed how many sincere educated men and women think that all they need to do in order to overcome these feelings of guilt is to resist the feelings of guilt and somehow rid themselves of it. Like many other feelings, guilt can be seen as a warning light on your car’s dashboard, simply telling you that something needs to be fixed. You have a choice to either “fix” the dashboard, or go to the real cause of the problem.

Perhaps the reason why so much of the world walks around with such a guilty conscience is that they have never made the connection to God and received a spiritual cleansing and pardon. I believe that the death sentence that we deserve was paid by the torture and death of Christ. Simple belief, in this great exchange of punishment and acting on that belief results in what I call the “New Birth”. If you have already received Jesus into your live, and given the Christ your heart to cleanse and renew, you are seen by God as clean, and you can come to the Lord in prayer without any shame of who you are.

If you have not ever given yourself to this new birth in Christ, the best way is to do this in prayer. Jesus paid your penalty and took your guilt, in order that we can have access to God’s loving presence, God’s healing power for our body and soul, provision for our needs and to fill our joy; and life eternal. This is the only thing I know of that sounds “too good to be true” that actually is!

Pray to God in the name of Jesus, that you give your life, dedicating yourself to God. Not sure you believe or have enough faith? If you simply agree that Jesus loves you and accepts you right now, and that Jesus is God who came to earth to make this way for all people to have life, that is faith my friend. You may not feel anything at first. The more you spend time with God through prayer and study of the Holy Bible, you will be amazed at how real God will be to you. I guarantee it.

Pray today that you be cleansed from all guilt. Then get up, thankful that you are made pure, cleansed and forgiven. It is so much easier to live a pure life when you are first made pure. Its not about you trying to become holy by being good; its about God making you holy first, so out of God’s love and goodness put in you, that from the supernatural outflow you may shine God’s love and joy – being a living example of the message of Christ.

I encourage you to take action in order to walk free from guilt and shame. There is hope and healing for everyone. I hope that the more the gay and lesbian community can learn to overcome shame, that we can draw closer to God and pray for the needs of our people.

My partner and I try to spend time reading the Bible and praying every day. We also like other Christian materials and other resources that help us to grow like group and individual therapy and at times couples and pastoral counseling.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message. If I helped you an any way, please email me at my gaypray gmail address and let me know. I would love to hear from you!

Here are some tools for overcoming guilt and shame from the Holy Bible:

1 John 1:9 (New International Version)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 32:1-2
1 Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count against him
and in whose spirit is no deceit.


Romans 2:4

Romans 3:21-24

2 Corinthians 5:17 (Amplified Bible)
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!

"River of the Redeemed"
Oil pastels on panel, by Jason Ingram

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