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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How Do I Pray

How do I pray
To a God
Who is not good
And why would I want to
And what would I pray anyway
      Dear God please be nice to me
      Even if you would rather not

How do I pray
To a God
Who is not powerful
And why bother
And what would I pray anyway
       Dear God please hang around and watch my pain
       Even though you can’t relieve it

How do I pray
To a God
Who has some power
But not all
And what would I pray anyway
       Dear God please stay beside me in this situation if you are able
       And if you are not able, just forget I asked

And what of that
Your will be done prayer
Which I used to think
The most simple and right prayer
       Who wants the will of an unkind God
       And why ask for the will of a God that can’t exert it

And I know I’m supposed to be comforted
When many pray
For me
But really I’m not

Because
Shouldn’t the quiet prayer
The earnest request
Of a single voice
Be enough for God

What kind of God
Whether Good or Powerful
Or Unkind or Weak
Watches silently as you grovel?
       Not a nice God
       Maybe a powerless God
       Or a semi powerful God

Maybe prayer is just about
Acknowledging God exists
Not ever asking or expecting
Much of anything
       But that doesn’t seem quite right or useful
       To God or to people

And I know prayer is not all about asking
And that it includes thankfulness and confession
And blah blah blah
But the asking part
       Whether for guidance or resolution or peace     
       What is that now
      
I see now
Why it was easier
Not to think too hard
About the deep pains in the world
And in the lives
Of the people around me

To settle for half answers
That allowed me to still believe
In a God that was both
All good and all powerful

I see why I believed that before
And I see why I can’t believe that now

I see too that while I wrestle
With who God is
Putting scattered thoughts on paper
Is the only way
I am able to pray
At least for now