Wednesday, October 16, 2013
How To Pray When You're Pissed At God
Or Anyone Else For That Matter
By Ian Punnett
Published by Harmony Books, 2013
The title caught my eye and I knew this was a book I simply had to read. I've been feeling pretty fed up at God myself about the sudden and tragic death of the young son of a dear friend of mine, and hoped this book might help....and it has.
Ian Punnet is a member of the Episcopal clergy and has worked as a hospital chaplain, experiencing helping people cope with trauma, pain and death; many of the people he meets have no idea that it is actually okay to be sometimes angry at God, to rage and and shout at Him, and that there is ample Biblical precedent for doing so, even Our Lord Himself. In Jewish tradition there are many rabbis who have remonstrated forcefully with God, following in the tradition of Moses and of Job in the Old Testament, not to mention the imprecatory psalms.
His rewording of Psalm 22 works well at being an angry prayer which will speak clearly to many, using modern imagery which young people - sometime those who feel themselves most distanced from God - will find familiar and to which they can relate. I had absolutely no idea that in Jeremiah 3: 1-3, the language used in anger is intemperate indeed, the Hebrew word used being equivalent to modern "f-bomb" when talking of Israel's lack of fidelity to God.
Punnett's angry prayers in Chapter Eight are heartfelt and often hard to read, covering a wide variety of human pain and experience in modern life; not all end with the pray-er feeling more reconciled with God but still have elements of hope. It is better to express the anger in prayer, however forcefully, to get it out of one's system and then be able to begin to re-work one's relationship with God.
There are a large variety of prayers from other people who are angry at God, themselves and others, and also a useful section on using the Psalms as a hymnal and a prayer book in this useful and thought-provoking book.
Definitely a Five Star book in my eyes and one I am buying as a hard copy book as well as keeping it on my e-reader.