The Shockingly Bold Prayer of Jeremiah

The prayer of Jeremiah in Jeremiah 20:7 is shocking…even disturbing:

O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me.

Eugene Peterson writes,

Jeremiah was not timid in his prayers…A blunt rendering [of Jer. 20:7] is “First you seduced me, then you raped me.” You lured me by enticing words, then you seized me by force and made me submit to your will. Our anger can be a measure of our faith. Believers argue with God; skeptics argue with each other.

This is Jeremiah at prayer: scared, lonely, hurt, angry. A surprise? The indomitable Jeremiah praying like that? All of us experience these things. No one alive is a stranger to them. But do we pray them? Jeremiah prayed them. Everything he experienced and thought he set in relationship to a living, knowing, saving God. And the moment these things are set in relationship to God something begins to happen.  (Run With the Horses, 100-101)

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