Is It Okay To Complain To God When You Pray???????

18 May

J. I. Packer defines “complaint” in prayer as “a kind of speech that blends lamentation (raging, glooming and despairing over what is bad, frustrating and hurtful) with supplication (begging and pleading that someone will do something about it)” (Praying 190).

But is it ever permissible to “complain” to God in prayer? Or should the believer gird up his loins, grit his teeth, and keep his mouth shut? More than permissible, it is often essential. If you doubt the legitimacy of godly complaint, take a moment and consider these expressions found in the Psalms:

“O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long? Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes” (Psalm 6:1-7).

“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?” (Psalm 13:1-2).

“But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and He hears my voice” (Psalm 55:16-17; see also Psalms 38, 79, 88).

“And so our complaint prayers,” says Packer, “are not mere self-centered whining that life has not treated us right. Instead, our compalints are those of dependent children, running in fear and in hurt to our almighty Father, who rules all things. God, if He chooses, will relieve our pain. And if, for nurture’s sake, He chooses not to do so, even then we are to snuggle and nestle into His arms, knowing that Father God loves us, hears our complaints and will love us now and forever” (Praying, 204).


Posted by on May 18, 2014 in Christianity, Faith, Religion


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31 responses to “Is It Okay To Complain To God When You Pray???????

  1. jw1ggytheloon

    May 18, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Thanks for taking the time and writing this…I was looking at my Phone and the app I have for word press glowed for a second…so I decided to open it…I was lead to read your blog…sure enough it was right where I’m at with the situation I’m in right now…I do believe The Lord has heard my cry…thanks Levi for your obedience and your blog!!!


    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 7:22 am

      Thank you for reading it and I’m so happy that it was what you needed today. The Lord knows and provides so faithfully. Thanks for the encouragement. Have a great day!!!


  2. Mark Myers

    May 18, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I certainly hope it is okay. My prayers have been peppered with some complaints of late. Thank you Levi. It is always good to go back the the Word as the source.


  3. Paige Hamilton

    May 18, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I’m really grateful that God hears our complaints and loves us despite of “bad” attitudes … much like I do with my children, only God does it perfectly. Really good thoughts to ponder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Paige, He hears it all and despite still loves us and is faithful even when we aren’t. Wonderful thought, isn’t it? Have a blessed day. Thanks for sharing!!!


  4. Equipping The Saints

    May 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Thank you – good thoughts.

    Senior Pastor/Equipping the Saints
    Philip 3:10, “That I May Know Him”


  5. Sue C.

    May 18, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I’m so glad the Lord said to bring All to Him in prayer and supplication. It would seem a bit hollow if we couldn’t bring everything to Him. Thanks Levi.


    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 11:11 am

      We can just be ourselves since He knows us better than we know ourselves. Thanks and have a great day Sue. 😃


  6. beverley

    May 18, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I am pretty sure that is my prayer you have there, only a few of the words have been changed. If you believe in a living Heavenly Father that loves us, then i think it’s ok to complain occasionally, only if we remember to go back and say thank you, once he has sorted it all out.


    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Certainly we need to give Him thanks. Btw, this post is a JI Packer quote from his book unless I misunderstand what you’re saying. I didn’t take your prayer and change the words some. Thanks!! Blessings to you.


      • beverley

        May 19, 2014 at 6:13 am

        No you didn’t take my prayer, but i am sure i have said the same things in prayer before now.


        • Levi Thetford

          May 19, 2014 at 6:15 am

          Ok, I understand now. I just wanted to clarify it. Thanks for letting me know. Have a blessed day Beverly:)


  7. Michael

    May 18, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I opt to complain to God than to pine with friends.


    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Michael, better to do that. God has it all together and some times our friends ( at least some of mine) can’t. Have a great day Michael!! God bless.


  8. Susan Irene Fox

    May 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Sometimes, those “complaining” psalms are wonderful solace. While friends may become annoyed at our lamentation or want to fix our problems, God, in His great wisdom, listens to the truth and heart behind the words, hears the ache under the anger, offers perfect grace and comfort, or walks with us until we heal.


    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Susan, that’s what I was saying to another. Our friends and family just don’t understand like our Heavenly Father does. Thanks so much!!!


  9. paulfg

    May 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Great “question” and loved your psalm choice. Relationship wouldn’t be real if we “dressed up smart” before talking to him.


  10. hitman5184

    May 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I really enjoyed this post! It went along the same lines as a post I wrote a few weeks ago about being real with God. I always thought the most effective prayer was honest prayer. Thanks for posting this.


    • Levi Thetford

      May 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Hey, I’m glad it goes along with what God laid on you heart as well. May He use them both for His glory. Thanks for reblogging it as well. Have a great rest of the day brother.


  11. hitman5184

    May 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Shooting the Breeze and commented:
    An absolutely great post that I read that goes right along with previous post of mine, Being Real With God. I think this is worth a read for people who may struggle at times with praying what they really feel to God. Also feel free to head back and also read my own post about it here. Hopefully these two posts together will help you with your prayer. Until next time…



    May 19, 2014 at 3:35 am

    These “complaints” takes on before God which require faith in Him versus that of ungodly faith that does not trust in God


    • Levi Thetford

      May 19, 2014 at 6:12 am

      That is absolutely right SJ. Thanks for pointing this out. The post was directed to believers.


  13. vwoods1212

    May 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Amen. vw


  14. 66assuranceway

    May 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Good piece Levi! I excerpted it in mine today – on “Prayer: 4 Types”. Peace. Greg S


    • Levi Thetford

      May 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Greg, I will take a look when I have time later. Have a great weekend!!!


  15. Anna Waldherr

    May 8, 2016 at 11:56 am

    The Lord’s heard me complain many a time. Thanks for this, Levi.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ColorStorm

    May 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Ha. If we are taking out the trash……….what better place eh? since He knows anyway. ;)

    Liked by 1 person


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