Prayer and Complaining?
The title of today’s blog seems contradictory of what is commonly perceived as biblical prayer. This not so if you understand the many prayers among the prophets and others which were accounted in scriptures. How does God view those which demonstrate this activity at times? What can we learn from scripture that may help us understand this element of prayer? Can pressing our Lord with persistent questioning directed to God be beneficial in the believer’s life of prayer? I am confident that we could create a multitude of questions surrounding this topic. The truth remains that God may seem distant and inattentive during some of our prayers; but we never doubt that the best answer to our prayers is found in God’s plan and his timing.
By nature, we do not admire someone which complains frequently. We have all encounter those types. At the core of many of those complaints are found a heart which is selfish and a determent to addressing the problem at hand. But is there an element of righteous complaining in prayer? Let examine a couple examples as recorded in scripture.
Many of you are familiar with the account of Job in the Bible. Here was a man which God found great favor among men . Job was described as a righteous man before God and his prosperity had grown throughout much of his life. Job was definitely a man of disciplined prayer. In a moment of his existence everything was permitted by God to be eliminated by Satan. The only restraint that God imposed upon Satan was Job’s life. The only reason that Satan spared Job’s wife must have been that Satan believed that he could use her influence to succumb Job. She behooved Job to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Throughout the account we read that some friends came along and sat with Job for a week and eventually expressed a platitude of goads claiming that Job must have some type of sin prevailing which must be addressed. Let’s pick up the account in Job 10.
“My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? (vss. 1-3). Furthermore, we pick up the conversation again. “Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.” (vss. 11-12). Later Job prays these words. “Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little.” (vss. 18-20). Does this sound like complaining? For many of us we would have probably adhered to the petition of Job’s wife. Curse God and just die!
The book of Psalms records many prayers which included complaining. Read Psalm 55 for one example. The prophet Jeremiah who was claimed as the weeping prophet of Judah. Scripture records his complaints against God through prayer (Jer. 12:1,3). Even we find Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane praying the cup is too great for me (Matthew 26:39). The Apostle Paul and others are the accounts of biblical complaining. Only our Lord Jesus Christ was able to see the end result of His suffering.
In light of the few examples shared here initially; we endeavor to learn to heart of God. To enhance further discussion, i would like to present some questions. Do you believe that God finds favor in prayers which include complaining? Would you share other examples found in scripture which includes this topic? How does our heart play a role in biblical complaining? I look forward to additional comments. Grace and peace always.
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