Emotions and Prayer

I knew my daughter was upset. She had been wounded by a friend and was trying to deal with the pain. Standing down the hall from her room, I couldn’t make out what she was saying. But I heard the emotional pitch—up and down—of her words.

Anger and hurt were spewing forth. No one was in the room with her. Was she talking to herself?

Did we need to be concerned? Seek counseling for her? No. Amy was praying.

Amy has learned to take her hurts to God. Not given to the silent way her mother and I pray, Amy often talks to God out loud. And she always expresses her emotion, whether happy, angry, hurt, or depressed. And she’ll approach God at any time, anywhere. The shower is a favorite spot. When she is happy, she’s not even beneath approaching God with an opening, “Whaaatt’s uuupppp!”

I love that about her. God has done something special in her heart that allows her to approach Him in this way. She comes with no masks, and He meets her!

One of the most amazing things about Amy’s prayer experiences is how she resolves her prayers. Very regularly, when she goes to God hurt and angry, she comes away accepting and at peace.

Expressing emotion in prayer is a gift! Many believers—myself included—find it very hard to do. Somewhere along our Christian journey, we became more staid in our prayer life, less emotional. But God wants to commune with us, even in our various emotional states and even when our anger is directed toward Him. It doesn’t matter; He listens.

Jonathan Graf is the author of The Power of Personal Prayer: Learning to Pray with Faith and Purpose. This article is adapted from that book.

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