Talking with God: What's going on?

Beth Barnett explores what is happening when we ask God questions – and how listening is part of the conversation.

Three-year-olds seem to have an endless supply of questions.  A string of ‘Why? Why? Why? Why?’ can keep them going for hours. Teenagers can unload a barrage of questions, too, when the mood hits them. In fact, all of us, of any age, are most likely wondering about something.

The thing is, whether it’s the incessant ‘Why?’ of the 3-year-old, or our own ‘wee small hours’ questions about life, there are plenty of times, if we’re honest, that we just don’t know the answers to everything.

On the whole I think that’s a good thing. Do I really want to know the answer to the question ‘Why did that disease take my friend so young?’

The great thing about questions is that it does us just as much good – if not more – to ask them than it does to answer them. Just voicing a question seems to be a helpful human activity. Not having all the answers can be a relief.

There are lots of prayers in the Bible that are just questions. Here are a few of my favourites – you might like to borrow them for some prayers in your household sometime:

Why do the nations rage so furiously?’

Who rises up for me against the wicked?’

Why am I so downhearted?’

‘O LORD, what are human beings that you regard them, or mortals that you think of them?’

Where else can we go?’

Where is wisdom found?’

It seems quite legitimate to just lob our questions at God, and then sit back and listen. Who knows what will happen?

Let’s remind our children and ourselves that listening for God is a great way to pray. We don’t have to do all the talking all the time.

Beth is currently undertaking doctoral studies in the area of New Testament examining the constructs of maturity in the letters of Paul. She has held pastoral roles in Baptist and Anglican churches and been a long-term volunteer in the missions of Scripture Union, for whom she is a freelance resource writer and trainer. She teaches units in Children and Families Ministry and Biblical Studies at Stirling College, as well as guest lectures in other Melbourne, Australia, colleges. Internationally, she is a writer and facilitator in the Child Theology Movement.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Send this to a friend