I have a complicated relationship with Christianity. I grew up in it and was serious about it at one time. Then, I had a quiet time every day and wrote down prayers in my journal every night. But a lot of my beliefs have lost their appeal in college. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever make my way back into the church — I’m comfortable there, and I know all the right answers, but I don’t like it. This discussion could go on for ages, but here are some of the reasons I don’t pray anymore.
- It feels like a lie. I don’t call myself a Christian — Christ follower — anymore, so praying feels extremely insincere. Why should I do something I know my heart isn’t in? It’s a disservice to myself and others.
- It doesn’t connect me to God like it’s supposed to. I never got any responses in my life or in my quiet time. For years, praying felt like I was just talking to myself. Consequently…
- It feels like a waste of time. Why should I pray when no one is listening?
- I don’t know how. I’ve grown up in the church, and I’ve heard every possible way to pray. I don’t feel that I ever found my own “style” or way to pray, so it always felt like I was just a child repeating phrases without knowing what they meant.
- I associate it with guilt. It’s difficult to keep my mind on track when praying, and that would make me feel like a bad Christian. My entire relationship with Christ was a cycle of guilt and trying again and failing and more and more guilt.
Sometimes, I wish I could still pray. I’ve had friends and family members who I honestly wanted to pray for. But I can’t anymore. And that’s fine. For now, I’m happier with thinking through my life on my own terms.
Do you feel like I do? If you pray, why?