Uncensored Prayer #1
I want publish more things that sort of document how people are wrestling with God. For one thing, it lets people who wrestle with God (most of us) know that they aren’t crazy. Or if they are crazy, at least they’re in good company.
To that end, I’m starting a series called uncensored prayer, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Written prayers that don’t try to sound holy and are more concerned with being honest than with saying the right thing. If you feel so inclined, please send me one. In the mean time, it’s only fair that I start it off with one of my own.
Dear God, sometimes I feel that there is nothing more to say to you. I fail at my goals and commitments, I ask for your help, your presence to resolve the situation, but get none. No sign of you. I feel like we just keep disappointing each other.
I’ve been having trouble praying lately because I don’t have anything to say. Frequently, I pray and the apparent result is… nothing. Emptiness. The feeling that it was a waste of time in the first place. It’s like I regret praying. Sometimes, anyway. There are other times when I do feel your presence. What frustrates me is the unpredictability.
I’m desperate for you, though. Really I am. Sometimes in bed I reach my hand out, literally reach it out, hoping that I will somehow be able to get your help if I stretch out my hand. I remember walking down the street at Spring Arbor late at night, and I closed my eyes and put my hand out. I told you I wanted you to lead me. I waited in silence and all sincerity, waiting to feel a phantom hand slip into mine and lead me, blind, down the road. And I really thought you would do it. But you didn’t. I felt so empty when you didn’t.
Last week I fasted all day, praying in silence, waiting for you to speak to me. To give me some insight, some comfort, or even just the faintest hint of your presence. I felt nothing, and after a day of fasting and prayer, I felt robbed.
Is there some kind of trick to getting what I need from you? Or am I just supposed to do nothing and wait? A relationship with you really isn’t like my other relationships. I know what to expect from my friends, my family. But you’re a mystery. Which is great, in theory, I just wish you wouldn’t go all mysterious mode when I need you the most.
Look, I know you don’t owe me anything. I believe you are a good person and I’m sure you have your reasons. But sometimes you make no sense to me. I want to be angry at you, but I can’t be for long, because I know if there’s anybody doing anything wrong here, it’s me. But I don’t need validation. What I need is you.