Legit Prayer

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By Lauren Thompson

There's a joke about an old Jewish man who prays every day by the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. In good times and in bad, even as the fighter jets roared over his head, this old man would go to pray, touching the sacred wall. A younger man who watches him admired his faith. One day this young man asked him, "What does it feel like to have such deep devotion that you can pray even in these difficult times?" The old man answered, "It feels like I'm talking to a freaking wall!"

In the midst of the desert that is the season of Lent, I find this Jewish joke comforting. I think many people reach a point at which their fundamental beliefs imply God but nonetheless resist the surrender of faith, thinking of themselves as agnostic because they haven't had a specific kind of emotional experience or encounter with God. They haven't had what in Catholic jargon would be called 'consolation,' or feelings of God's nearness or tenderness.

And yet, I would argue that they have had experiences of God, just not particularly igniting ones. Your thoughts, questions and beliefs are things you legitimately experience. God sometimes adorns our faith with consolations, and sometimes He takes them away. But the consolations themselves are not the substance of faith and shouldn't be confused as faith. 

God will use what you give Him. He is desperate to capture your attention via the wild and curious heart that He designed in you, and spoiler alert: He gave you this passionate and unsatisfied heart to lead you back to Him.

Keep going ladies.