Raw praying – Hope 103.2

Raw praying

By David ReayThursday 12 Jan 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Psalm 137:8-9

8         Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
              happy is the one who repays you
              according to what you have done to us.
9         Happy is the one who seizes your infants
              and dashes them against the rocks. (NIV)

Not the warmest or most encouraging of bible verses! But it is worthy of comment for a couple of reasons. One is that it reminds us that we can be honest in praying. We don’t have to smooth out our grammar or censor our thinking or feeling when we pray. We bring God what is on our heart—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The psalmist here reminds us that prayer is not to be sanitised.

The second point of significance is that these words have not been removed from what we term the Word of God. The Bible is meant to convey God’s truth to us, but that doesn’t mean every sentiment in the Bible is godly. The wish expressed by the psalmist is not at all commendable. God would not approve. But the words are recorded as an expression of sheer vengefulness on the part of the psalmist, an honest if uncomfortable feeling.

None of this is to say we are to be hateful in our thoughts and feelings. But if in our fallen humanity these feelings or thoughts come, then God is well aware of them and we may just as well share them with him.

God is well aware of the ambiguities and shadows in our lives. This same writer eloquently expressed the sadness of the Jewish exiles just prior to these less than eloquent words. We bring our messy and sometimes unpleasant material to God rather than letting them lurk in the darkness and cause unseen havoc.

David Reay