I have been reading a book by Philip Yancey called “Prayer – Does it Make any Difference?” and I ran across a familiar story which is so profound. We’ve been studying the Old Testament in a study group at church and in our session on Job, we discussed honesty in prayer. The conclusion we came to is that since God knows everything already, to come to him with anything but complete honesty would be an affront to our relationship with him. No amount of anger or frustration, no honest expression of feelings of hate or anything else would come as a shock, or hurt God’s feelings like being fake and dishonest would, since it would indicate our lack of trust in him, our lack of concern for real relationship.
The story is about a chaplain at a hospice who is approached by a man who has spent the previous night ranting, raving and swearing at God. He now feels dreadful and is worried that his chances at eternal life are lost forever and that God would never forgive one who had so cursed and abused him. The chaplain asks the patient “What do you think is the opposite of love?” to which the man replies, “hate.”
Very wisely, the chaplain replied, “No, the opposite of love is indifference. You have not been indifferent to God, or you never would have spent the night talking to him, honestly telling him what was in your heart and mind. Do you know the Christian word that describes what you have been doing? The word is ‘prayer.’ You have spent the night praying.”
God, I want to always remember to be honest with you in prayer – I know that I can rest assured that you are big enough to handle any feelings I have and that you want to hear them. I am amazed and humbled at the fact that you care for me and want my honest, open dialogue… Thank you for teaching me more about you and how I am to relate to my creator and king. What an awesome blessing it is to be loved by you.