A Prayer for When You Feel Far From God

At my church we have a time dedicated to sharing our prayers which ends with acknowledgment that God hears “all prayers, spoken and unspoken.” I love these times. But there are always topics lots of people deal with that we don’t hear as much about, because our society has taught us to be ashamed or scared of sharing these struggles with others. In this series I will share prayers for the people whose prayers too often go unspoken – people struggling with infertility, addiction, boredom, rage, and many other realities of human life. Please let me know if you have any such prayers, or have a suggestion for a person or group of people who could use prayer. 

God,

I say your name, but I don’t know whether I believe you’re there.

I did. At one point. I think?

I used to feel so close to you. I felt your presence in my every moment, your love for me was like a rock I could climb on, your care unquestioned, your power mysterious but something beautiful to behold.

But now that connection sometimes feels…empty.

A lot of me feels empty these days. I call your name but the response is too faint for me to hear. I pray but my mind just gets filled with frustrations.

At some point along the way life got hard. Distractions got louder. The road got tougher. And for one reason or another, even when things are OK, I just feel distant from you.

But I choose to take comfort in all those fathers and mothers of faith before me who felt far, who had doubts, who got mad at you or couldn’t see you when they looked, and yet they testified that you changed their lives.

In the doubting Thomases, the wrestling Jacobs, the lamenting Mothers, the fearful Israelites at the bottom of Mt. Sinai, the Mother Teresas struggling with depression even as they serve you, I see myself. And if I can see myself in them, and they still found a way to see themselves in you, maybe I can too.

I pray God, that as I wander in the desert you would make yourself known to me. I pray that while I wait for water to parch my thirst for You You would grant me patience and frankly, I pray that that time comes sooner rather than later.

I know I am not alone in this feeling, in this experience, in this desire. You have honored many before me who felt the same way. May I be someone who doubts, but continues asking questions. Who feels far, but continues walking towards. Who feels empty, but holds out hope that I will one day be filled. May those around me not judge me or chastise me but be with me, and care for me, and pray for me. May they even learn from me, as I live a kind of faith that is sometimes harder, but often filled with unexpected grace.

You are God. I believe in you for a reason. And even as I feel far away I hold fast to that reason, hold fast to you, and wait for this too to pass.

Amen.

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