Editor’s note: Jump into our online book club! We’re reading Jane Knuth’s The Prayer List…and Other True Stories of How Families Pray. This week we focus on chapters 6–9. Learn more about the book club here.
In chapter 6, Debbie is praying in front of the crucifix in her parish church. Her daughter is asleep, wrapped in a blanket, on the last pew near the door. Debbie’s husband has just died, and she is there to have it out with Jesus over the lousy way her prayers have been answered.
It is a heartbreakingly honest story of family prayer. Debbie’s grief is raw, and her anger is unleashed on the image of the crucified Christ. “I don’t even like you,” she says to Jesus. “But you’re part of the family…so I guess I’ll have to deal with you anyway.” In the book, she tells what happened after that.
When I asked Debbie if I could use her story in The Prayer List, she checked with her daughter and then left a message on my phone. “Sure, go ahead and use it. We’re both okay with that. But I don’t need to read it. I’m sure you’ll do a fine job.”
Prayer, especially family prayer, is so personal, so deep inside us that it’s hard to share. Debbie is a hugely brave person. She shared her anger at God and his answer.
The Prayer List Discussion Questions
- Have you ever been furious with God? Did you tell God?
- Does God feel like one of the family to you? Why do you think Debbie felt this way?
- In chapter 8, Ellen and Martha are not surprised that Jesus would show up to eat an English muffin; they are just a little surprised by how he looks. When you say, “Come, Lord Jesus,” do you expect him to really do that?
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