When I was single, I wondered if God was deaf.
I mean, I was praying fervently for a husband. I prayed long. I prayed loud. I prayed often. When fellow Christians suggested I pray more, I was like, “You’re kidding, right?” I was the most praying person around.
If my prayers had been money, I could have retired early.
This prayer pattern went on for years. Blessedly, my prayers were finally and wonderfully answered. But at the time, I did not know my prayers were going to be answered. I did not have that hindsight. I simply forged ahead, stubbornly refusing to let God off the hook.
It is easy to start questioning God. In my prolonged singledom, the questions came thick and fast.
It is easy to start questioning God.
I found myself wondering if God was deaf. I wondered if he cared. I wondered if he had anything beyond singledom in his grand plans for me. Of course, I knew God cared, deep down. I knew he was not deaf. I knew it was my frustration talking. But frustration can be pretty persuasive.
So I ranted at God. I remember having some painfully frank conversations with him. I would ask him if he had gone deaf. If he had not noticed my personal agony. If he had stopped caring.
“God,” my fumbling prayer would spill out, “are you sure you still care? And, if you do care, which I think you do, could you show me just one more time? Could you convince me all over again that you see me, that I am not invisible to you?”
I have no idea if this was the right way to pray. Perhaps I got it horribly wrong. All I know is it was honest. It was raw. It was unfiltered. Not polite, not by a long shot. Not even terribly Christian. But it was real.
I have no idea if this was the right way to pray. But it was real.
I think we Christians can get ourselves in a real tangle over prayer. I have a tendency to overthink them. (Anyone else an overthinker?) Even as I say my words out loud to God, I am analysing them, spell-checking them, hypothesising what God thinks of me and how he might respond.
It is enough to drive one crazy.
So how should we pray, when we are questioning God, or confused, or just plain angry? If you are looking for a pat answer, you are reading the wrong blog. (Sorry-not-sorry.) There is no rule-of-thumb, no secret formula, no perfect prayer to grant you access to God’s genie-like wish-fulfilment.
This somehow fills me with relief. If there is no magic spell, if it all boils down to a few raw words delivered straight from my anguish-filled soul to God, then people like me still have a shot. Regular joes like me, frail and vulnerable and overthinking people like me, stand a chance.
If God does indeed care; if he still listens; if he is not deaf but actually does hear our sighs and cries and screams and faltering breaths and disjointed sentences and prayers; then he is still worth talking to.
He is still worth talking to.
Do you sometimes question God? What helps you to pray when you feel like giving up? Have you talked to God recently? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.