Prayer as Complaint

Jerry Sittser is one of my favorite grief authors. After an auto accident that killed his mother, wife and daughter, he wrote “A Grace Disguised.” I am now reading another book he has written called “When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer.” If you have ever felt like He hasn’t, I highly recommend this book! And most bereaved parents feel like that, whether your prayers were for your sick child or for the safety of your child on the highway or for your grief journey. I want to share with you some of the wisdom he writes in a chapter called “Can God Take our Complaints.”

“The Psalms keep us grounded in God. Every home needs a grounding wire to keep it safe during an electrical storm. However powerful the strike of lightning, it will inflict no damage if a home has such a wire, for that wire will send the electrical charge directly into the ground, where it can do no damage. The Psalms are like grounding wire for emotional lightning bolts.

“The Psalms invite us to complain, to plot revenge, to accuse God, all in the form--amazing as this sounds—of a prayer. The Psalms assume that God is big enough, powerful enough, and gracious enough to absorb that emotion so that it causes no destruction. Ironically, the frustration that unanswered prayer engenders is itself turning into a prayer. Rather than cutting us off from God, unanswered prayer drives us to God. These prayers might sound as bitter as poison, but they are still prayers. It seems as if any kind of prayer, even those that are mean and angry, is better than no prayer at all. However irreverent, these prayers are still prayers.”

If you are praying, even in complaint, you are in relationship with God and that’s the best place to be. Keep praying. Stay near His heart and you will be moving toward healing and peace.