Contemplative Life

Being “Honest to God”

Recently, in a sermon at The Falls Church Anglican, I finally got the chance to spend some time unpacking quite a few years of thoughts about praying what we’re actually feeling versus what we think we should be feeling.  This is an intense time in our country and in many of our lives, there’s a lot of stress, disappointment, heartache, and sometimes anger… what to do with those feelings in a way that’s constructive? I hope you’ll listen to or watch the sermon below and consider with me ways of engaging that horrible Psalm 137 (“Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”), figuring out what to do with the violent verses of our beloved Psalm 139, and exploring Jeremiah 20, one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.

Here’s the heart of it:  These passages model for us praying what is actually in our hearts and minds.  They invite us to be honest in our prayers to God too, to bring our feelings to him as they are, not as we think they should be, be they easier emotions like love and gladness or harder ones like disappointment, bitterness, even anger.  These passages for us are an invitation to be “Honest to God,” because honesty demonstrates intimacy. One insight I didn’t get to include is from Rabbi Arthur Waskow, “Wrestling with God feels a lot like making love.”  Have never thought about prayer quite the same since I first encountered that quote!

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