Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Christianity Today: Grappling with God

Christianity Today: Grappling with God

Prayer sometimes feels like a hug and a stranglehold at the same time.

"The church I attend reserves a brief time in which people in the pews can voice aloud their prayers. Over the years, I have heard hundreds of these prayers, and with very few exceptions, the word polite applies. One, however, stands out in my memory because of its raw emotion.

In a clear but wavering voice, a young woman began with the words, "God, I hated you after the rape! How could you let this happen to me?" The congregation abruptly fell silent. No more rustling of papers or shifting in seats. "And I hated the people in this church who tried to comfort me. I didn't want comfort. I wanted revenge. I wanted to hurt back. I thank you, God, that you didn't give up on me, and neither did some of these people. You kept after me, and I come back to you now and ask that you heal the scars in my soul."

Of all the prayers I have heard in church, this one most resembles the style of testy prayers I find replete in the Bible, especially those from God's favorites such as Abraham and Moses. ..."

I can relate to Yancey's story here. I have felt the embarrassed silence when similar prayers have been offered in small groups. I, too, have been embarrassed. It's almost like I'm ready to apologize to God for the impertinence of my fellow Christians.

But is it impertinence? Or is it more honest than many prayers offered in public or private settings?

This article is well worth reading.

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