Permission to Speak Freely

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Prayer, Scripture 19 Comments

I like to filter things. Get the junk out. Keep it pure. I have a filter for water on my counter and on my refrigerator. I replace them regularly. It makes me feel safe.

My fondness for filtering often flows over into the prayers I pray. I search for cleaned up words when I talk to God. Unconsciously believing He’ll like me better if my thoughts, emotions and desires run through a “good-Christian-girl” screen. It makes me feel safe.

Then I see David all up in the mess with God in Psalm 54 and I’m challenged again.

David prays unfiltered.

He’s brutally honest with God. In a way I admire but hesitate to emulate. He doesn’t clean up his God-talk. He spills it. Sediment and all. I see this in the Word and my heart breathes.

We can speak freely even when our hearts grind with grit because Jesus is our freedom. We can enter into the dirt of others because He has entered into ours.

It’s good for me to drink filtered water and to filter the words that leave my mouth in conversation, but the words I speak to my Lord don’t need filtering. God can handle my honesty: good, bad and ugly. He needs me to relinquish the ugly in order to transform my heart. There are lessons to be learned in the filtering and un-filtering. In the freedom and in the restraint.

David wrote Psalm 55 in another time of distress.

God, listen to my prayer
and do not hide from my plea for help.
Pay attention to me and answer me.
I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint,
because of the enemy’s words,
because of the pressure of the wicked.
For they bring down disaster on me
and harass me in anger.

(Psalm 55:1-3, CSB)

He prays that God would show him mercy, talks of his sorrows and fears.

He asks God to take action, assuring himself that God would, in due time, take care of business.

But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
17 I complain and groan morning, noon, and night,
and he hears my voice.
18 Though many are against me,
he will redeem me from my battle unharmed.

(Psalm 55:16-18, CSB)

He comforts himself with the hopes of divine rescue, and then points others to trust the Rescuer.

His heart burns with the ache of things not being as they should… laments the reality of broken life.

Finally, David assures himself that God will make all wrong right in the end. Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken. (Psalm 55:22, CSB)

God lovingly sustains each weary heart that calls to Him, and picks up the heavy end of our burdens to lighten the load.

And He holds tight to His own so they won’t shake.

What a powerful, beautiful, strong picture of His love.

In the shelter of His everlasting arms, we can pray unfiltered, ask hard questions and seek comfort from a God who understands pain, knows all and loves perfectly. We can trust Him.

Dear Lord,
Even as grace purifies my heart, remind me to come to You as I sift through the things that discourage and diminish my hope. Though this world is broken, I’m grateful that You welcome me to call to You for healing, help and comfort, knowing that you became broken that these miracles of goodness could be made possible.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.



On a scale of 1-10, how filtered are your prayers?

What burden do you have that you need help bearing?

In light of this message and questions, grab your journal and spend a few moments in responsive prayer. Not a journal girl? No worries. Write your prayer of response on the wall of my blog.

LOVE YOU GUYS so much!


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Comments 19

  1. Writing this comment, I want to filter this message, but I already know when I speak to God, I have no filter, for He already knows in my heart. What I like, though, from this word is that it speaks to me loudly. I am able to connect in the message. It amazes me how He speaks to me through you. I always enjoy reading your messages. You definitely have a gift that He has provided. Shannon

  2. Thank you for this devotional. My sister sends it to me on a regular basis. This one really spoke to my heart. I’ve had a rough year of back pain. One surgery in Oct 2018 and it looks like another one may be in the near future. Physically and emotionally draining. But God is teaching me so much about trust. And now I want to be honest and real with the Lord as David was. Thank you so much

  3. Thank you for this devotional. My sister sends it to me on a regular basis. This one really spoke to my heart. I’ve had a rough year of back pain. One surgery in Oct 2018 and it looks like another one may be in the near future. Physically and emotionally draining. But God is teaching me so much about trust. And now I want to be honest and real with the Lord as David was. Thank you so much

  4. I loved this! So great to know God won’t allow the righteous to be shaken. My world seems so shaken and broken right this minute. My husband got a DUI this weekend and I didn’t even know he had a problem. We’ll be married 35 years in June. Christians, very involved in church. Prayers appreciated.

  5. Dear Heavenly Father, I bask in your love and thank you for always being there but I ache with grief at thevliss of my dear friend Cindy. Its so hard to face loss, Lord. I’m so blessed that You will never leave me.

  6. I bring my burdens of my family disharmony. Somedays I barely get by.I trust in God for my hope and strength. Please pray for me.

  7. I so appreciate the devotional I read each morning. I do filter my words to God, thinking He wants my best. I know He wants me to open up an talk plainly, and without interruption. Too many times, I am afraid or outright paranoid that I will say the wrong thing and God will judge me. It sometimes seems too much to believe that God accepts me as I am and loves my plain, often shabby prayers. I need help with my health. I have a strange problem called Orthostatic Intolerance. I see a neurologist, and I have regular testing, medicines, and appointments. My blood pressure is unstable, and I can’t work. I worked for the state and for our school system. I only worked for social security for 27 quarters. I don’t have enough time on any system to get retirement help. My husband just retired on disability. He has coverage. I do not. I have no insurance, and I can’t work to get any. I have horrid headaches and I pass out from the imbalances of blood pressure. Right now, I feel like my life is sitting in a chair. I have to make money for us, as John’s pay is not much. I need to buy insurance. I have asked God for His help and mercies. I also have a very small brain tumor. It shouldn’t cause problems, but it frightens me. I really needed to tell someone my story. Health and finances. I am sure that is everyone ‘s story.Thank you for a kind, listening heart.

  8. Today and every day I pray for Gods guidance to help my husband and I make the right decision to move back north. We sold our home and moved south due to what I call “ selfish reasons”, and because my husband truly loves me.. he agreed. I feel I took him away from his close friends, work …..home… and every day I regret it. I’m in turmoil and feel guilty every day. I ask God to help me and show me what direction to take. I know God hears me and in His time, will direct us!!!

  9. Today I prayed unfiltered! I am so discouraged ok mad that we work hard with a small business.A good sound business trying to sell for 2 1/2 years. My husband’s business mainly. He is 65 and we decided to close the doors. Fear of not having it sold. Customers missing us. Interest has been there very thankful for sparks but financial is a block and then disappointment! I pray God hears our plead soon & blessing another with an employment opportunity with owning their own business! Amen!

  10. I needed that verse this morning. My burdens sometimes are heavy. Please pray for my daughter. She is struggling with finding who she is in this world and the people she is around are in dark places. I pray for her safety but mostly that she feels God’s love and returns to Him. I pray God sends her a friend who loves and serves Him and will help her.

  11. Lord, you know my heart unlike any other could ever know. Almost 10 years ago my sweet love was called home, our youngest was barely 15. Today I struggle still and my heart breaks. I thank God that my sweet love is out of pain and in Your glory but my heart grows weary. I know you have a plan for me and I thought maybe I met someone else that would love me again. But the more I come to realize how different we are the more I realize this may not be Your plan for my life. I know I have been falling for him, he is a Godly man and I admire his walk but I don’t think he sees me as I see him. Help to settle my heart with this. Help to fill the void that only you can fill in my heart. I grow tired of doing life as a single person and I grow weary holding my family up. I am tired and worn. Help me sleep tonight knowing that You hold this all in the palm of Your hands. And there I find Rest.

  12. Dear Lord, today my prayers were unfiltered. The situation with my daughter being found guilty when innocent, left me confused. I know your plans for her are to prosper her, right now, we do not see it. As a loving mother i feel inadequate, i failed to teach her how to pray. Help my unbelief Lord. Give her Your peace and joy, in Jesus name.

  13. Gwen, thank you for this timely email. Never realized how filtered my prayers are. I trust our Lord so explicitly, but see that I do filter more than I knew. He is so trustworthy is bringing things to us. I have filtered for the last 10-11 years since losing my husband – why? I will seek His face and open my heart and soul to honest, unfiltered prayer. I’m sure it will take some time, but so excited to see that I’ve built an imaginary wall that He can break down. Through His amazing disciples like you that bring these issues to the forefront. Thank you! Maybe someday I’ll be like Jodie above – what an amazing pure unfiltered love and trust – keep drawing near to Him.

  14. Heavenly Father I need help with my finances. It’s been such a struggle with my Mother, here, with in home hospice care and my sister in remission from ovarian cancer. Please take this financial burden and help sustain me today. In Jesus name. Amen

    GWEN this is my prayer for today. I continue to pray for you and your family. Things are so hectic right now in my life but I know only for a season. It’s nice I can share on your board today. Thank you

    1. Post

      Thanks for sharing your heart here, Tammy! Praying for you and your family right now, girl. Keep leaning on His strength and grace.


  15. My prayers are unfiltered. I feel that is the very best place for me to take it ALL, knowing and trusting that God can handle ALL that I feel. He knows is all and invites me into deep relationship. I go to him with my worries, anxieties, anger, grief, confession, and lack of understanding. David leads the way in showing us that we can come expectantly. Thank you Lord, for taking all of me. Every last once of feeling and pain. Thank you for being there for my prayers. Thank you.

    1. Post

      I was literally JUST praying for you and your family, girlfriend. Like… possibly when you were typing this. Love you so much.


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