Afraid to Ask: Learning to pray with gut-level honesty


The first time her hair fell out, I didn’t think anything of it. I knew baby hair loss was normal and I had experienced it with my first two children. Her hair eventually started growing back in. But when it all fell out a second time, my husband and I started to suspect there might be something more going on.

A few trips to the doctor and one biopsy later, the term “alopecia” would become part of our vocabulary. We were told our little girl’s immune system was attacking her  hair follicles causing her hair to fall out. Not only that, but she had a rare type that affected her whole body and gave her only a 10% chance of ever growing hair.

Immediately, concerns of having my little girl grow up bald began to emerge. Would she grow up feeling different? How would the kids at school react to her?  Would she resent having to live with a disorder? How would she feel when she saw her sisters fixing their hair and she didn’t have any hair to fix? 

When it comes to challenges in life, I tend to have a flight response. I want to run away. I don’t like to deal with issues. I much rather prefer to keep moving along pretending like everything’s okay, even when they’re not. So that’s what I did. Or, at least, that’s what I tried to do.

In the beginningI didn’t really know how to pray. The mix of shock that a disorder was now part of my child’s life kept me from finding the right words. Thankfully, we had dear friends and family who surrounded us in prayer. Their prayers carried me through those first few weeks of confusion.

I eventually arrived at a place where I believed I had peace with my daughter’s diagnosis. Then, one Sunday morning, I heard a sermon on prayer. I was reminded of the need for gut-level honesty when talking to God. What I didn’t realize, at the time, was that my prayer life lacked a certain level of honesty.

Some time later, I found myself at a conference. The speaker opened by talking about the power of fervent prayer. She addressed different areas of life and encouraged us to raise our hand if we needed prayer in that area. Then, she lead the audience in praying fervently over one another’s needs. When it came time to pray for health, I knew I was going to raise my hand on behalf of my baby girl. It was in that moment that God pierced my heart with this truth, …“You haven’t even asked me to heal her.”

These words cut right to my heart. He was right. I hadn’t asked Him. I had prayed that He would equip my daughter to carry this load. I had asked for His hand and protection on her life. I had asked for strength. But I had never once felt comfortable enough to ask Him to heal her.

That revelation was devestating to me because it made known the condition of our relationship. It revealed my fear to approach Him with such a big request. It exposed my mistrust in Him. It uncovered the insecurity of my self-worth.

I hadn’t asked because I was afraid of how He might or might not respond. I realized in that moment that I harbored doubt towards God. I claimed to trust Him, but our relationship was undermined by the lie that every once in awhile I still need to take care of myself. I still faultily believed that sometimes I just need to depend on myself to muster up enough strength to keep moving along acting like everything is okay. This lie kept me from, honestly, going to God with my fears.

That was the beginning of a deeper, more honest prayer relationship with my heavenly Father. I’m still near the beginning of this journey and I don’t know what lies ahead for my daughter, but I do know that I can trust God completely with her. I know that He loves and cares for her and that He is in control.

I know that I don’t need to be afraid to be honest with Him.

And I know that during the trials of life, God is still good.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

1 John 4:16


What is the level of honesty in your conversations with God? Would you describe it as gut-level honesty?

What is going on in your life, right now, and how do you feel about it? Have you shared that with Him?

Have you gotten stuck in a prayer rut where you feel like you’re praying the same prayers over and over? Our prayers shouldn’t be characterized by rote memorization. Instead, slow down and sit in His presence. He cares about you and wants to hear from you. He doesn’t want your lip service. He wants your heart. He wants you to be honest with Him.

“You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”   

James 4: 2-3


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