Prayer: A struggle with God
Whatever their religion, the believers in God pray. Even Christians pray. They pray for the sick, for those without a job, for a son who got into bad company, for families with discord. They ask God for rain, blessing for the crops, and protection from misfortune. Today, this type of prayer is derided by some; it leaves others indifferent and raises many questions even in the believers. Why pray if God already knows what we need and is always willing to give us every good?
Even in the face of the most heartfelt pleas, he is often silent. He lets the events take their seemingly absurd course. Everything proceeds as if he does not exist. His inexplicable silence makes one cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:2).
The dialogue with him also assumes dramatic tones, is turned into discussion, in open dispute. Jeremiah turns to him with an almost blasphemous accusation: “Why do you deceive me and why does my spring suddenly dry up?” (Jer 15:18). “You are like the seasonal water. They were but melted ice, running from under the snow. But summer comes and the river dries under the blazing sun, no water is left. The caravans of Sheba look for them, in vain they expected, they are frustrated on arriving there (Job 6:15-20).
We would like a complacent God, who guarantees our dreams. He, instead, tries to free us from our illusions, to rescue us from misery, pettiness, vain desires, and involve us in his plans. Prayer is thus a struggle with the Lord, as sustained by Jacob, for a whole night, at the river Jabbok (Gen 32:23-33). Who surrenders to God comes out a winner.
To internalize the message, we repeat:
“Our Father knows what we need.”