Author and Anglican priest, Chris Webb, had the guts to tell someone that she could pray for her ex-boyfriend to die. By directing her to the Psalms, he claims her prayers didn’t need to be from a place of dishonesty.
I have heard this story in person and also in one of my favorite books of the last year. I encourage you to read it and just think about what your prayer life would look like if you prayed with honesty right where you are. Cut the bull, leave the platitudes aside, and just go at God with ruthless truth on how you feel and what you truly desire. As Webb says in the article, “What else are you going to do? Sugarcoat a lie? Do you think God doesn’t already know how you feel, what’s going on in your life? There’s no point telling anything other than the truth.”
You may not agree with Webb’s pastoral approach but the lesson about prayer and what you get out of the exercise is profound. Perhaps the very act of praying for someone, even if our intentions are suspect, changes our heart and helps us to see God and people in a different light.
There are many things I have prayed for over months, even years, and God seems silent or determined to do something different. But out of that practice I have found my vision of the situation changes; my actions in relation to the situation soften; that I am alive to the possibility of a more life giving and Godly trust and approach.
Perhaps that is the answer to the prayer. The outcomes are sometimes secondary to the transformation and heart change that arises out of the practices of prayer. So keep praying, it is doing you good and changing you for the better.
To hear Webb talk about his book and the story above go to this video (the story is found at the 30:00 mark).