Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Prayers for People Who Have "Issues" with God

I like to listen to people who are not believers (and some who are) talk about what bothers them about God. Apparently not too many ministers have the same disposition. I think it is part of my ministry to find out how people are doing spiritually. If things are great then we have very little to speak about.

But if things are messed up then the table is really open for a dialogue. Most of the discussion will revolve around their irritation (or anger) with the way God is managing (or mismanaging) the world.

It is a major mistake to argue or reason with people who have these "issues." Explanations do not solve anything. It does not accomplish anything, it irritates them and it takes away their voice. They need to be heard; especially if they do not think God is listening. These people are not idiots. They are struggling. I they could figure it out for themselves they would not be speaking with you. They would be listening to you whine and moan. Now we KNOW that God is always listening...but very often WE secretly wonder if He is paying any attention to what is really going on.

I will ask people to tell me what God's face looks like at this moment. They will look at me in a strange way; as if I have lost my mind or have asked them to walk across a barbecue pit. But I persist. "Tell me what God's face looks like to you right now." It is really amazing what they will say if they think you are really interested.

REMEMBER: DO NOT ARGUE WITH THEM !!! JUST LISTEN !!! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PSYCHOANALYZE THEM !!! Just listen !!! Do not take notes. Just listen. This is the moment you have been waiting for. They will tell you what they are struggling with and then you will have earned the right to speak with them. Maybe they will shed some light on dark places in your heart and mind...you know...the places YOU hide from everyone; including yourself.

Be courageous and try it out. Remember the questions and we will find a way to publish them so other people will know they are not alone in asking these things. Remember there is enough loneliness and isolation in the world it is time to break the walls down.

By the way...God likes it when we do this. Read Job or some of the Psalms. He is thrilled when we become curious. It is "Proof of Life."

A. I.

5 comments:

david santos said...

Hello, A.I.
I loved this post.
Good luck

wattiam said...

great post and finally someone that gets the listening is the most important thing. I do get tired of the preaching by others because se asll can intepret the bible a zillion different ways

keep up the good work my friend

Damon said...

Awesome thoughts and written very well! When people feel they are listened too, then the heart softens and the healing can begin. It's a simple process we tend to complicate. Good post!

Anonymous said...

Prayer is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

That is an excellent question. I suppose I don't like my answer, but it is honest. I rarely ask God for answers. When i pray I let Him know what I am grateful for. And I ask Him to make certain that my kids know and love Him the most. And I ask Him to help me be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend. I don't know that I ask Him ENOUGH to answer my questions or fix my problems. Sometimes I tell Him what I am really unhappy about... like [my son's illness] or someone I love behaving badly. And I ask Him to help me deal with it. I probably don't believe strongly that He WILL fix my problems. I feel like He just gives me the strength and the tools to cope with them. In my darkest moments my prayers are something eloquent like "GOD, WHERE are YOU??!!!!??!!". Fortunately, that isn't very frequent. Sometimes if I am on my way to talk to a friend who is hurting I will say to God "Please help me to NOT screw this up. And give me your words to say".
Does that answer your question?? It certainly gave me something to think about.