I heard someone say recently that what they appreciated most about Christianity in their teens was forgiveness — because, like most teenagers, they were grappling with guilt. By contrast, in their twenties it was a sense of direction and purpose in life. And now increasingly since they hit their thirties it’s hope — since things are messier and haven’t necessarily turned out as they planned.
This resonated with me. Along with many of my peers I’m moving into that phase of life when most of the ‘big’ decisions — whether and who to marry, what job to do, etc — have already been made (or made for me).
And so one of the biggest pastoral issues looming on my horizon is disappointment — disappointment with life and with God.
This was brought home to me recently when a close friend emailed me a question (I have permission to share it):
I think this is a 101 question but I am going through some stuff and its making me ask…
Why do we pray?
I know that God listens and answers. But when it seems like he doesn’t answer the way I want, I feel let down by him all the time. It’s almost like I have this attitude: “As if prayer would make a difference”.
I am astounded that I am thinking this way.
I don’t doubt that he exists or what he did for me in Christ is important. And I know that he hears my prayers. But I feel like I am talking to a wall.
In good times I pray: “I believe help my unbelief”. But…
Before I fill you in on what I said, I’d love to hear from you. How would you respond? What biblical passages and themes would you drawn on?