sunset/intimacy with God in prayer

We don’t pray because we fear intimacy with God.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Sometimes we hesitate to pray because we worry about intimacy with God. We worry about this intimacy on a couple of different levels.

We worry because we don’t want to believe God knows us so well.

First of all, we might worry God will see all the things beneath the surface. The funny thing about that is that he already does anyway. Here’s what Scripture says.”

Psalm 139: 13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

So if God already knows us that well, where’s the problem?

Obviously, we don’t really believe it. Right? We don’t want to. I’m right there with you. It’s one thing to know it intellecutally. It’s another thing to know it in our heart.

The problem is in not believing in God’s love.

sunset/intimacy with God

I mean who really wants to be known that well? Who wants someone to see all their warts and know all their shortcomings?

This piggy-backs to the feeling of worthiness I wrote about here. It makes it all too real. We flounder with our words. After all, if God knows us that intimately, warts and all, why in the world would he answer our prayers?


Every verse in scripture that describes God’s love for us and how he wants to bless us in the context of him knowing every little thing about us. He loves us because he knows us.

  • He sees our judgmental hearts even if no one else does.
  • Knows the unkind thoughts that never make it to our lips.
  • Sees out tendency towards discouragement.

It’s against the backdrop of all this that God loves us.

Another problem- we don’t have God’s eyes

It took me a long time to get this myself. And even now, I forget that he knows me that intimately, that I am truly an open book in God’s eyes. We really don’t have to pretend to be anything but the very flawed people we are. And yet, we are loved.

God still chooses to love us knowing who we are and what we are. That’s love beyond what anyone of us can understand. As much as we love our own children, we can’t know them intimately. No human being can know another human being like that, even the ones we love the most. We are an enigma to some degree.

There is comfort in knowing God is intimate with all our ways.

I was out in the garden digging up weeds this week. Every year as I do that, I’m always trying to remember what the garden will look like this year. Gardens change from year to year. Some plants die. Others show up because some bird dropped a seed. There are all kinds of beautiful flowers and plants just waiting to push through the dirt weighing them down. I love the anticipation of it all.

But I couldn’t help but wonder if God anticipates our “unearthing” as well. There is comfort in knowing that God sees below our surface to the roots underneath, the roots he planted at our birth. The top layers are much of our own doing. Because he is so intimate with our ways, I would imagine he anticipates with glee when he sees us trying to push through the dirt to the surface.

closeup photo of sprout

There is comfort in knowing that God is intimately acquainted with all our layers and wants us to get through the dirt and live in the Son.

Honestly, am I always glad God knows me so intimately? No. But that’s because it my shortsightedness, I’m always thinking I can hide something from God. I doubt any of us get the place where we really believe this anyway. I’m not sure we can. I think it’s one of those areas that may well lie beyond our ability to grasp.

Therefore, we have to keep reminding ourselves that we are “known”. While it may, on some level, bring some discomfort, it also reassures us that God loves us even though he knows us more intimately than anyone else can.

But there might be one more subtle reason

Secondly, there is another very subtle reason intimacy with God discourages us from prayer. Maybe, on some level, though we fear intimacy with God, we fear more that some things will come to the surface that we would rather ignore. We’d prefer it all remains hidden. Now, we will know. And with that knowing, comes responsibility for change.

We know we may have to do something about what has been unearthed. Maybe that’s the ultimate problem with initmacy.

We really don’t want to know.

We just want God to know. It’s not so up close and personal. However, God says we are to examine our hearts to see what is getting in the way of our relationship with him.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 129:23-24

Remember, when we look at ourselves, it is very different than how God looks at us. God sees through lenses of love and forgiveness; our lenses are murky at best.


Let’s not let intimacy with God get in the way of prayer. Instead, let us rest comfortably knowing God loves us unconditionally. That doesn’t mean he approves or condones our sin. But it does mean he looks beyond all that and still opens his arms to embrace us.

And let’s not be afraid of looking at ourselves. Knowledge is very empowering. Whatever comes to the surface, God already knows and will help us deal with it. He will help us be victorious.

We will sprout up and be the beautiful person God always knew was there.

A Post Script

I put this post aside for a day before I posted it, as I always do. When I got up this morning, I, too, was discouraged about prayer.

God made something very clear: “It is only Satan that benefits when we don’t pray. As a matter of fact, it’s the most powerful tool in his arsenal. A non–praying Christian is totally ineffective for God. Satan knows that only too well.”

And never forget this: You might be the only one praying for that person you know. The responsibility of that weights heavily at times, but the blessings even more so. Don’t give up.

Yes, intimacy with God is kind of scary. Having ourselves laid open isn’t exactly fun. But we are strengthened every time we push through a layer of dirt and we are better equipped to be effective prayers.

God bless and have a great day.