Come in whatever state you’re in. Just don’t stay there.

The best way we can seek Abba’s presence is through prayer. For me, this was something abstract and at the most in depth taught with an ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) method. While this was a very basic approach and helped, it didn’t build the connection that I needed to truly experience the Holy Spirit.
Even though I was seeking to build my relationship with Abba by studying Scripture and doing my best to live out His will through the Torah, I found myself shrinking away from actually speaking with Him. The truth was, my own shame was preventing me from being transformed because the judgment I was putting on myself was all I could see, and ultimately, I was making it too great for His forgiveness and presence, because I hadn’t really forgiven myself.
This is one of the most dangerous things we can do in the relationship is to be so ashamed – or even prideful and distrusting that He knows best – of where we come from that we run from Him rather than to Him with a genuine wholeheartedness.
“Come near to God, and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!” James 4:8
There is genuine consequence of willfully being outside of the holiness of Abba’s presence, but more so, He invites us to seek Him because He wants to love us wholly. In the most unclean parts of ourselves, in the parts we want to hide and run from, is where the relationship deepens the most. Even though we have no deserving of our own doing to be welcomed, if we ask to be transformed, He comes near.
If you’ve ever had a valuable relationship (parent-child, significant other, friendships) that has gone through a trial, when true remorse took place and then true forgiveness, that relationship became much more solid than it was before. Something that had to be in place before remorse and forgiveness was a state of true vulnerability in being seen for everything that you are. When He accepts us in our raw state, we can begin to build a relationship of trust that when something bad happens, we can immediately run to him in earnest and say, “Abba, I messed up. I need Your help.”
Much more than only judgment and reflection, prayer is service of the heart. This is when we can connect with the spirit within us that is filled with His light and begin to cultivate growth. This is a fundamental tool that is graciously given and commanded as a practice to allow holiness to take place in our lives – this is for our sake. When we allow growth to happen through Him, we begin to shape the raw form we have come in into something beautiful and valuable for the work we are called to do. We can begin to cultivate the natural goodness we are created with into something powerful and holy – and reconcile the natural bad we struggle with so we can repair the relationship we have with ourselves and those around us.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
When we use that goodness inside of us to want nothing more than genuine connection with Abba, we seek to be bound to Him. In my journey to learning how to pray, a teacher pointed out that we aren’t always great at seeking Abba the way we think we are. When we get sick, we go to the doctor before we pray. When we need information, we can seek other people or Google before we pray. In this man’s daily life, he says that he allows countless opportunities for Abba to play a role in his life by simply asking for His guidance in even the most mundane things. While there’s not always an instruction to be given, by opening himself up to being directed this way, his life has been much more aligned with Abba’s will and has allowed great blessing to be carried out for the good of others. Even this small window of opportunity is a way that prayer takes place as an avenue for us to be bound to Him.
If you’re coming from a place that keeps some part of you reserved from Him, whether it be shame or distrust or pride, I pray that you be brave enough to want to seek Him with every fiber of your being and truly experience the relationship that can take place because of it. While your relationship may be formal at best in the moment, laying everything about who you are at His feet and asking to go on the journey with Him is the only way you can come to a place of genuine peace, understanding, trust, and love.