Tag Archive: Letters To God


Prayer

I was recently requested to write a letter of prayer to God for a late friend and her widowed husband. A few days ago, I searched for my good letter-writing fountain pens, ink, and letterhead. I wrote that letter, addressed it to God, Jerusalem, paid for postage, and tossed it into the mail. I figured I was done, but content stayed with me. In the end, I knew I wrote a pretty crappy letter, and decided I had to redo it.

Turns out, I forgot how to write a letter. I’ve become so used to typing, editing, and spell check that pen and ink seemed like a foreign language. It was hard to transition words to paper. I was stuck by the constraints of six-by-nine stationery. Whatever I wrote, must have been awful, for the finished product sat like dead weight.

I have no problem expressing my soul, bearing witness to my insecurities, and failures. I don’t fear the world knowing them either, for I presume, we all have faults we wish to bury from the world. It’s just that my late friend and husband deserved a thoughtful prayer, one considered honorable under God versus one in which the writer spent more time in search of the pen than then on the letter. 

Just as I lost a wife to mental illness during the early ’90s, my friend required prayer of grace. I have no idea what my friend endured. She lost her life. He lost a wife. It’s not like enduring a colonoscopy: drink some liquid the night before, camp out in the bathroom until morning, be escorted to the clinic, have an endoscopy inserted up your behind, get the results, and be back at work in three days. Losing a loved one is a landscape-altering event. No matter how one claims they’re ready, just a handful ever are.

One blogger wrote of his pain. “My wife went from fit, healthy, and beautiful in Sept 2017 to not being able to walk by Christmas – I cannot understand the cruelty my wife faced. I know I have been trying to ignore my grief, but the pain and sadness are all-consuming and I’m struggling now to cope with everything; my job, my friends and there lives, my family, my wife’s family – I am drowning in a world where everyone seems to be normal and my life isn’t anymore. I don’t want this life. I don’t know how to cope.” Everyone will say what you’re feeling is normal, but there is no normal. 

Normal is inapplicable within the screaming silence of an empty home, the reverberation of every picture, and a garden that dares to bloom in Spring. Life and the memories of that which was lost circulate throughout the void and pulses in every heartbeat. True prayer embraces this pain, acknowledges the soul, lifts hopeless.

Prayer is a conversation. Prayer is a conversation with God, that friend, a favorite pet. Children in western forms of religion are taught that Jesus began his prayer with some form of “Our Father,  who art in heaven.” Jesus focuses on a distinct person — the Heavenly Father with whom he has a personal relationship. It should be the same for us. Make the person we want to communicate with, part of the process. Written prayers force us to articulate our thoughts and feelings inside.

Love required me to properly articulate what was being asked. Instead of going through the motion, each word had to be formulated with purpose and driven from an authentic heart. Authentic prayer is neither a ‘tagline’ nor purchasing a condolence card at Walgreens and stuffing it in the mail. Written prayer is the process of heartfelt understanding being granted through God. This type of prayer is agape love in the present moment. My second letter became effectively powerful. I only wish my first was just as thoughtful.

Letters To God

I haven’t written for several for nearly a week, as I’ve been so busy with work that I couldn’t pen a decent article. That’s partly true, and part fabrication. I ran out of things to say—a little writer’s block. Maybe time off is good for the soul. Then again, one never knows when inspiration will occur.

I captured a snippet of conversation yesterday. “Ugh,” an exasperated patient decried. “I cannot remember what I prayed to God about ten years ago.” Adding a chuckle, “Now, I’m praying for survival.” I’ve encountered similar ironies throughout the past decade: some funny, a few ironic, and several deathbed confessions. There hasn’t been a patient alive who hasn’t wondered where they were ten years ago or what they prayed, including me.

Years ago, I wrote God two letters. Yup. Him (or her). The head honcho. Da’ man. The great guru. If what’s said is true, God being everywhere, then the Almighty remembers what I wrote. That’s good because I don’t.

Pulling my two letters from the safe, one would never know what was written, when they were written, or circumstances under which they were authored. Was it at a good point in life? A celebratory note? Did I request a permanent piece of knowledge? Or, did I seek forgiveness for some event remaining unforgiven? Should we open and review?

Technically speaking, this letter is God’s letter. Even though I never adhered postage and dropped in the mail, this mail is addressed to God. According to the Associated Press, “…letters addressed to God are routed to Jerusalem, Israel and directed to Israel’s postal service. The Israeli postal service then delivers the letters to a unique address that hasn’t changed in thousands of years, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.” Would the Almighty be offended if I opened my letter today and reread it?

Writing a letter to God is not as imposing as it sounds. When I wrote my notes, I heard no internal chorus of objections. “What am I supposed to say?” “I don’t like to write.” “I’ll sound stupid.” “What do we do with it?”

Author Janet Levy said, “I promise you, God won’t laugh!” When you write a letter to God, you are walking right past negative pride, self-doubt, fear, and reservation. You’re allowed to pour out your heart as one would to a close friend. You are permitted to unload problems, worry, fear, disappointment, grudges, and heartbreak. Place your hopes and dreams toward God’s loving attention.

Whatever the reason, I wrote two letters to God. Putting curiosity aside, I will not open and revisit them. Come Monday; I will place postage (about $1.50) and write “To God, Jerusalem.” I should have done it years ago. And, being as sick as I am, I should write again.

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