It's Okay to Angry Pray

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When something sad or hard happens, who do you want to talk to? Maybe it’s your best friend, your significant other, your mom, or your dog. It can feel good to share your frustrations with other people. It can help you feel heard as you sort through your emotions. Everyone likes a good vent session, am I right?

But something we might quickly surpass with a vent session with a friend or significant other is that we can share our frustrations through prayer, too. (If that sounds cliché to you, bear with me.)

While prayer is a space to praise God and thank Him for His blessings, there is also a space in prayer to open up about our frustrations. And we wouldn’t be the first to do so. People have been venting to God for generations.

In 1 Samuel 1 we read about Hannah. She had been trying to conceive a child for a long, long time, but it just wasn’t happening. Hannah would go to the temple to pray, asking God for her long-awaited child. She would get so upset she would weep. She would become so beside herself she would turn away food. Over time, we can only imagine Hannah’s prayers turned from hopeful to hopeless.

But she never stopped praying. In 1 Samuel 1:10 we read that “in her deepest anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly.” But the best part? This wasn’t the end of her story. You can find out what happens in the rest of 1 Samuel 1 #cliffhanger.

Through Hannah’s story we’re reminded that angry prayers are okay. God can handle our frustrations. In fact, He wants to hear them. He wants to hear about your crappy day at work or about the super expensive car part you had to replace, again. He wants to know how you felt when you overheard a hurtful conversation or saw another shocking news headline. Prayer is your avenue for talking to God about what makes you happy or mad or frustrated or fed up. And sometimes it can feel easier to just pour another glass of wine or call your best friend when you’re frustrated than to acknowledge that God has been there all along.  

Or, when you do pray, you might feel like it needs to look a certain way—like a small group circle after you’ve shared prayer requests or a short blessing before a meal. I know I’m guilty of stereotyping prayer and making it fit where I think it belongs instead of weaving it throughout my day. But, that’s not what prayer has to be like. Prayer can look like screaming into your pillow or weeping uncontrollably on the floor of your bathroom. There is nothing you can express to God that He doesn’t already know and that He can’t handle.

So, go ahead. Angry pray your heart out. He’s always listening.  

Written by Kelli Gilmore