I have been struggling with a number of things of late. I have been told by many that I should pray upon the matters troubling me. Our culture in the United States has this attitude that prayer should always be reverent, thankful, and in praise of the Divine. And our prayers for assistance should always be done in a humble and most respectful of ways, followed by a statement of gratitude and praise of the Divine. This is a stifling approach to prayer.
Respect of the Divine is helpful. Humility is nice. But it is very difficult to be thankful when you are struggling with major health issues or someone dear to you has tragedy befall them. I think that prayer is a discussion between the person engaged in it and the Divine. To force a discussion to happen only along certain lines means that the discussion never really becomes authentic or acquires the depth to truly handle life’s vast uncertainties.
As such, I would argue that a prayer where you are voicing a complaint with the situation to the Divine is valid. A prayer where you are expressing exasperation and heartache to the Divine with how life is going is valid. And a prayer where you are expressing anger with the unfairness of the situation is also valid. You would have these sorts of conversations with embodied people around you, why not have them also with the Divine?
I firmly believe that the gods want to be in our lives. They don’t want to be there just for the good times or be treated as vending machines for favors. They want a relationship with us. As such, that relationship requires open communication and honesty. What is more honest than someone asking another person why things are so hard when they are struggling? What is more honest than saying to someone “I am hurting right now because of [insert crisis] and I am angry because you don’t seem to care.”?
Perhaps this approach is not for everyone. But if you want a personal relationship with the Divine, shouldn’t you make it personal in all areas?
Originally Published: 5/27/18