Monday, 25 March 2013

Prayer as Protest

It is Monday of Holy Week and a good time to reflect on how we engage with God.  We usually name that as prayer.  Prayer is the means by which we express our relationship with God and engage in communication.  A good relationship will have a variety of communication, and so it should be in our prayers.  We are not always going to be feeling good, but there will be those times when we feel ‘on top of the world’. 

I am reading Gordon Mursell’s book “Out of the Deep” (DLT, 1989).  In it he explores the range of prayer and, in particular, what he calls ‘prayer as protest’ – the need we sometimes have to articulate the struggles we are experiencing.  He comments at the beginning (p. 5/6): “Prayer will not just be an occasional expression of delight or respect.  It will be hard work, requiring perseverance and effort and unrelenting honesty.  Secondly the agenda for prayer will embrace the whole of our lives, not only (or even primarily) the religious parts.  If our prayer is no more than the spiritual equivalent of talking about the weather it is perhaps not surprising that it fails to satisfy, let alone to attract.  But if, as with any intimate human relationship, nothing is too important or too trivial to be excluded, then our feelings, our questions, our cries for help – in short our protests – will have a place within it.”

God wants our honesty and can cope with our protests.  God doesn’t offer a magic wand to solve all our problems, but promises to be with us, come what may.

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