If You Feel It, Pray It
March 12, 2017
When people tell me that they have an issue with God, sometimes a complaint, sometimes real anger, I often ask, "Have you discussed it with God? Have you told God how you feel?"
"I could not do that," they might respond.
"Why not?" I ask.
"I am afraid to do that. God might get angry back at me."
Not so, not for that. God's anger is what we experience when we resist the fierceness of unrelenting love. We are in a storm and we can ride the storm or wage war against the storm, but we cannot ignore the storm.
Nothing is resolved between people who love each other when one gives the other the "silent treatment."
God has a word for you in your most troubling emotions, but if you silence God by turning a deaf ear, it will be difficult to receive that word.
Jeremiah, like the psalmist, invites us into the arena of honest prayer where we wrestle with ourselves and speak honestly with God. He prays throughout the book his scribe recorded. It is not always pretty, but often comes to this:
" I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Correct me, O LORD, but in justice;
not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing."
(Jeremiah 10:23-24 ESV)
He puts it out there and is willing to be corrected. He trusts God that God can correct Him in justice and not in anger.
I want to be corrected. Don't you? Why would I ever want to continue in a course of unproductive, destructive thinking or behavior? I want to be set upon the right track. My days, like yours, are numbered and I want them to count.
Looking back a few verses, he prays the prayer of as disillusioned man:
" Woe is me because of my hurt!
My wound is grievous.
But I said, “Truly this is an affliction,
and I must bear it.”
My tent is destroyed,
and all my cords are broken;
my children have gone from me,
and they are not;
there is no one to spread my tent again
and to set up my curtains.
For the shepherds are stupid
and do not inquire of the LORD;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered."
(Jeremiah 10:19-21 ESV)
Prayer is a process. Indeed we pray with the news around us in one hand and the Bible in the other and we are shaped by our dialogue with One who hears and cares.
Whatever you feel, pray.
Don't give God the "silent treatment."
See Also -
How to Pray When You're Pissed at God Christianity Today article.
Angry at God from Ignatian Spirituality