One Purpose of the Psalms

One Purpose of the Psalms

One purpose of the Psalms is to liberate us from the lie that says we, as people of faith, can never ask God the tough questions. The truth is that faith-filled prayer isn’t characterized by ignoring the reality of our pains, fears, questions, and doubts. On the contrary, true faith acknowledges them and pours them out before God.

Having faith in God isn’t about running from your questions or pretending your doubts don’t exist. It’s about running to God in, and with, your doubts and questions even when they concern him (“I believe; help my unbelief!”). In the Bible, “faith” is more than merely an exercise of the mind (e.g., think positively or just believe these sets of doctrinal truths). It’s more of an activity of one’s entire being. It’s about posturing your whole self—doubts and all—before your Lord and Creator.

If you have to choose between sounding pious in your prayers or just being honest, always go with the latter. It’s messier, but it’s healthier. How so? Because faith in God without honest engagement with God is dead. Faith works; it engages God.

Prayer, on some days, even feels like wrestling with God. Which, on that note, I have to say: It’s better to walk away from prayer with a limp than to dance away from the altar of self deception. In other words, it’s okay to be honest with God. He can handle our fears, our questions, our doubts, and all the messiness of this life.

Give yourself permission to really pray.

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