Read Psalm 137:8-9
8 O Babylon, you will be destroyed.
Happy is the one who pays you back
for what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who takes your babies
and smashes them against the rocks! (NLT)
Let’s face it, this text does not immediately spring to mind when we think of sharing biblical truth with those seeking God. It doesn’t get a mention in talks or books about prayer. After all, smashing babies’ heads against rocks isn’t what we associate with the Christian faith or with prayer to God.
But we are left with the uncomfortable fact that the Psalmist prayed just such a prayer. Perhaps we need to rethink how we pray. Are we trying to formulate in our minds just the right words and correct theology before we pray? Are we bending over backward to be well mannered and polite? Are we burying our not so attractive feelings and only presenting to God what we figure he will approve?
The Psalmist reminds us of the need for raw honesty in praying. Of course, we don’t approve of such vengeful thoughts or behaviour. Of course, God doesn’t either. But the point is that this is what is on the heart of the Psalmist. He tells God like it is, not as he would like it to be.
It is best to honestly admit our wrong feelings and thoughts to God rather than trying to tidy them up and present sanitised prayers to God. After all, he knows what is on our hearts anyway so no need to hide it. Bring the whole mess to God and let him help us sort it out. That way there is a hope for healing; burying it all in the name of good manners is to let it all fester. In the end, we pray as we can, not as we can’t.
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