3 Prayers for When You’re Angry at God 

It is nothing new to be angry at God. But these prayers from His Word embolden us in hope and trust in our Savior, even when our lives go in an unexpected direction.

His breath was shallow. His eyes rolled back into his head, but he was still alive. Barely. All I could think was, What did I do to make this terrible thing happen to my son? He did not deserve to suffer. What did I do to bring this wrath of God against me? Right or wrong, His sickness became my judgment. There was no rational reason that he should experience this pain. He was in agony. What could I do? 

I remembered a rich history of faithful people who have talked to God in their most vulnerable state (not the picture-perfect Biblical heroes we tend to brag about in our feed). When God’s people are struggling with heartbreak, they have reached out through prayers for healing and help. But could I do the same? Would it even matter? Would He heal my child? I felt my anger bubbling up inside of me as my son’s fever rose.  

Pray to God. He’s the only one who can help. Pray to God. He has to answer. Pray to God. I was getting more desperate by the second. 

This was not a moment made for Instagram. In fact, I felt more like hiding and crying than taking any pictures. It’s times like these that the prayers of God’s grieving people remind me I’m not alone. 

The Lord Gives and He Takes Away  

“Curse God and die,” says the angry wife of faithful Job (Job 2:9, ESV). 

She was with him as they watched their children die, their houses crumble, and nothing was left. So this was the only thing she knew to say. God had abandoned them. What was left to live for? God had cursed them, so you might as well curse Him back, disown and disbelieve. There was no other answer, she thought. Make your stand. Make your own final declaration of solution and salvation. God turned His back on us, and so we should turn on Him. 

Job was angry as well. But the prayer he immediately offered didn’t resolve any of the pain they both felt. Rather, his cry, his confession, his prayer was one of hope beyond death. He said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21, ESV). 

Job realized his whole life, his failures, his successes, his wealth, his losses, his children, and their untimely deaths could be used by the Lord. Job, even in his anger, prayed that the name of the Lord be praised. 

From an angry and hurting perspective, this prayer takes a great measure of faith. But it is the hard truth of all circumstances. No matter what is happening in life, good or bad, the Lord is the one who gives it to you. Therefore, any gain, any loss, all health, every sickness, is a gift of God. A prayer from the suffering, cracked lips of Job speaks volumes of a crazy trust in God. 

As unnatural as it feels to say it, this prayer does not seek to change God’s plans, but rather change my own short-sighted desires, even while it breaks my heart. It is true, both happiness and suffering are from God. 

The Lord certainly gave my son to me. But could I praise Him if he was taken away? Yes, that is the prayer. God’s will is done whether I pray for it or not. However, God promised us a reality where a temporary parting would not be our end. Even though we will all die at some point, He has promised to ultimately give us eternal life. Christ is risen! And we will certainly rise again. 

The Lord gives. And the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Lord. 

How Long, Oh Lord? 

The sickness remained. His cough got worse. Frantically, I took him to the ER. The doctors were unhelpful. The tests were inconclusive. There was not one answer that brought comfort or resolution. Even after I prayerfully submitted my desires to the will of God, my son remains sick. So how long will this go on? How long until there will be relief? 

No matter how much I prayed, or what I said, I was waiting on God. All of the lip service to God’s timing was too much to bear. So how long, oh God until Your face shines an answer on my prayers? How Long, Oh Lord, until You offer Your answer?  

This is the faithful cry of Your people—how long? For those who expect Your action. For those who are waiting to see your power. How long, until You act like an all-loving, all-powerful God. How long until You solve the problems of Your people, like you promised? 

My son choked and wheezed. His fever was 103. Did God care? I knew He could help. But would He help? I knew of His power. I’d heard of His healing. I believed He could end my son’s illness. But, how long, until God acted like my God? It was long enough to make me suspicious of His power. If His actions wouldn’t work for me, then why would I keep on trusting Him? 

How Long, O Lord, will you forget me forever? How Long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? But I have trusted in your steadfast love, my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 13:1-2, 5, ESV)

Over and over again, the faithful prayers of God’s people say the same thing, how long? My impatient cry is not alone. Even King David cried these words to God. How long? 

As I say these words out loud, this prayer is not just calling out to God, but also speaking to my own heart, encouraging me to wait for God. Faith trusts what it doesn’t see. Faith believes, even if God is making me wait. I am learning that I can be angry at God, but also respectful of His timing and power. How long? This is our honest cry from our weary hearts, while faithfully waiting on God to act.  

Reciting David’s refrain of how long reminds us that we are waiting for a Savior. We can’t wait for this creation to be set right and restored. We are waiting for Jesus to heal every illness and banish every evil. We are waiting for the new heaven and the new earth where there is no more sickness and death. I can’t see it yet. 

How much longer, oh Lord? 

Help my unbelief! 

As I looked in the tearful eyes of my sick little boy, my heart was torn. How could such a complex and beautiful child be given and then taken away? How could God make him suffer these long hours without relief? The God I could not see challenged my vision, heart, and mind. 

And again, I am not the only one who had to pray this prayer. More than one distraught parent has brought their sick children to the feet of Jesus. In Mark 9, Jesus encountered a man who wisely screamed a short prayer for help: “‘But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us’” (Mark 9:22, ESV). 

Jesus rebuked the man for his wavering faith. The man was struggling to believe that the Lord could do anything for him.  

A father screamed at Jesus, “’I believe; help my unbelief!’” Watching the Lord heal others, knowing that Jesus could do it, wasn’t enough. And the man realized he did not have the power to believe. The prayer for healing was for himself. Help me, Jesus, because I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in you. 

And Jesus not only healed the son from his physical sickness, but also healed his father from unbelief. 

Our God, from beginning to end, does not require us to be strong enough, smart enough, faithful enough, or to even believe in Him enough. His salvation daily, weekly, throughout our whole life, is given and sustained by Him alone. Especially when we are angry at God, there is good news! Our strength and compliance to do the right thing don’t matter. Whatever has pushed us over the edge into unbelief and anger, God is right there. And He gives us His Words to pray when we have no words of our own left. 

Finding the words 

It is nothing new to be angry at God. But these prayers from His Word embolden us in hope and trust in our Savior, even when our lives go in an unexpected direction. 

And so in every circumstance, we pray to God. Good or bad, happy or sad. Our prayers don’t change God, but our prayers refocus our hope. Our anger does not dissuade God from His plans and purpose. Rather these prayers are for us, continually teaching us the wisdom of God, especially when we are angry. 

In our case, my son recovered and has since lived and thrived more each day. I know that’s not the experience everyone in my situation has. Through this experience of fear and anger, I have been reminded God is constant and true, even when my circumstances are turned upside down. 

Remember, you never know the full burden of what others are carrying, especially through the curated lens of our social feeds. But God is always there, and we can call on Him at all times. 

And when you don’t have the words, the great cloud of witnesses before us is there to help. 

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