Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

02 September 2010

Praying honestly and honourably

Once upon a time things were bad.  So I prayed,

"Dear God,
Thank You for putting me in this situation because I know that you are going to teach me something really important out of this."

Barely honest!  Somewhere in me there would have been a shred of thankfulness however...

Another time things were bad so I thought I would be honest.  So I prayed,

"God..."

No "Dear God," and I won't tell you what came next.  I raged.  I was honest.  But it was hardly any way to approach God.  Irreverent springs to mind, among other things.

So when things are bad how do we strike a balance between praying honestly, because God knows our heart, and praying in a way that honours Him?

Ali posted this poem by Bruce Smith recently.  And I think it finds this balance.  Bruce Smith says it as it is.  But without shaking his fist at God or levelling blame in His direction.  And then, having got it all off his chest, he does what ought to be done.  He realises that to dwell in the darkness is no place to stay, recalls that in God there is comfort, peace and hope and asks God to help him climb out of the darkness and back into the Light. 

Here is praying honestly.

It’s Dark in Here

Oh hell,
it’s dark in here!

I’ve fled here
to escape -
to escape the day,
to escape the family,
to escape the pressure
of people
and responsibilities.

I’m angry,
angry in my solitude,
angry with everybody
and everything,
angry with myself as well
for fleeing
to this rotten cell.

In this place
the past is as hurtful
as the present,
it comes surging back
with its recollections
of betrayals
and failures
beyond reckoning.
All the old scars
throb again.

O God,
it’s dark in here,
unbearably dark!
I cannot stay.
Strong, loving God,
restore me I pray
to a better mind
and help me find
lasting peace.

Bruce Smith