After my dad died, following three straight months of desperate prayers pleading for his healing, I had a crisis of faith. I felt like I had run full speed into a brick wall.
Prayer seemed like a joke. Seriously. I was left with a bunch of questions and no real answers.
Five years later, I’m still just as lost. I’m still in crisis.
Why didn’t God heal him?
Why does God heal at random?
Why does God say “anything you pray in faith, you shall receive” and then not act like the vending machine he’s prescribed himself as?
Is God even real?
What is the point of prayer?
Does my attitude matter when I pray or is it just the “doing it” that’s important?
Chris and I are off to El Salvador tomorrow.
Everything about me – about my legalistic, rule-follower personality – says I “should” be praying about the trip. I should be asking God to prepare my heart for what he might do. I should pray for our safety. I should ask him to meet me there.
Blah, blah, blah.
So I’m praying. But the truth is, it still feels pointless. I’m only doing it because I’m supposed to. … because that’s what a Christian does.
If I pray simply because I’m “supposed to” does that take away from the prayer? Or affect God’s answer?
If prayer is a “conversation with God,” then mine is completely one-sided conversation. I’m a petulant, needy child, taking God’s love for me for granted, and continually asking things from him.
But then my Christian-trained brain interrupts me and says Becky, you’re supposed to be like a child.
So I’m stuck. Either I pray because I’m supposed to. Or I don’t pray because it feels pointless. So I feel guilty.
And then there’s the another issue.
How in the world do I teach them to believe in the power of prayer when I have a hard time believing it myself? They’re smart … they’ll see right through the flimsiness of my prayers. They’ll see that it’s all words and no substance.
And yet, despite all my questions and confusion, I go on praying. I go on saying empty words and hoping, somehow, that they mean something to God.
Because I don’t know what else to do.