Have you ever been really upset with God, but when you went to pray, you changed your voice and your tone so you sounded all nice and pleasant, but inside you were still steaming?
Is it okay to be angry with God? Can you express how frustrated and ticked off you are when you are praying to the Almighty Creator of the universe? How do you let go of your anger with God? Wouldn’t you be disrespectful if you told God how upset and mad you were? Why do you feel anger toward God?
These are all excellent questions and in this article, together, we’re going to dig into the possible answers.
The short answer is yes, you can express your emotions to God, including anger. You can’t hide anything from God, even your anger, as He knows how you feel. By being transparent and honest with God, you can grow into a deeper relationship with Him as you pray and are vulnerable with what you are feeling.
In this article, I’ll explore being angry with God and how that emotion intersects with praying. I encourage you to read on and be open to the reality that being bold with God, and being honest with God, is worth it. As you reveal yourself to God and stop trying to pretend that everything is fine when it’s not, you might find that you encounter the Holy One in ways you have never thought of before now.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” ( Hebrews 4.16, NIV).
Will you take one step in that direction and share your prayer requests or comments in the comment section at the end of this article? We’d love to hear from you!
Is It Okay To Be Mad At God?
Yes, it is okay to be mad at God. How could you not get upset with God at times? God is God and you are not, so there will be times when God does something in your life that you don’t like, or God doesn’t answer a prayer the way you want, in the time you want. You’re going to experience feelings when this happens, and you will express the emotions that go with those feelings–just like you would in any other circumstance.
When you are in a relationship with God, you are going to feel what you feel like you would in any other relationship. You’ll experience joy and sadness, contentment and happiness, loss and provision, anger and delight.
At the sake of repeating myself elsewhere in this article, you can’t hide from God, nor can you disguise what you’re feeling. He knows you’re mad at Him, so just be transparent and let God know that. Be safe in His loving embrace!
Think of the best relationships you have with other humans. The ones you count on and trust with almost anything. Is there anything you haven’t shared with that person or group of people? More than likely, they have seen you at your worst and at your best and everything in between, and they are still with you. Don’t you think God would do the same, even more so?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” ( Proverbs 3.5-6, NIV).
How Do I Let Go Of Anger With God?
The best way to release your anger toward God is just to tell Him that you’re angry. As in, “God, I’m angry with you right now and I can’t fully explain why, but I’m not going to pretend that I’m not angry. I want You to know what I’m feeling right now.” That’s an honest prayer. That’s trusting God to handle the emotion you’re feeling.
Think about it this way: If God can handle it when you are full of joy and delight and praising Him with all that you are, why couldn’t God handle it when you are frustrated, mad, angry, upset, disappointed, and confused? Isn’t God the Almighty Creator of the universe? The One who parted the seas and raised the dead can be trusted to receive your anger without being harmed or disrespected by what you’re feeling.
As you let go of your anger toward God, it can be helpful to ask yourself these questions and give yourself the space to answer them for yourself:
- Why, exactly, am I angry towards God? Did I not get my way in some scenario?
- Am I angry with God because He didn’t do what I wanted, the way I wanted, on my timeline? (The words in bold are a hint).
- What am I expecting God to do now that He knows how I feel?
- What can I learn about myself and my relationship with God in the midst of what I’m feeling?
- How can I grow as a follower of Jesus Christ from this experience?
Just asking yourself these questions can help dial down your emotion a bit. Ask the Holy Spirit to surround you and comfort you with His Peace. You have to make the choice to let go of your anger. God won’t do that for you. Anger is a powerful emotion and so you will need to do the emotional discovery work to be able to let go of that with God. It is worth the time and effort!
Why Do I Feel So Angry With God?
There could be many reasons why you feel angry with God, some of which I have touched on in the preceding two sections. Beyond God not doing what you want, your anger could stem from not understanding or seeing God’s plan for your life. It might include not grasping God’s will for you in this circumstance, which can mean you may feel confused or not in control
The source of most of our anger is basically fear. We’re afraid of what might happen, or something happening that we can’t control. And since God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55.8-9), it can be easy for us to not have a handle on what God is doing, or why He is doing it. We just know that we don’t understand what’s happening and we’re upset about it.
The best way I’ve found to deal with all of that is to pray to God with what I’m feeling, and about what I’m feeling.
Can I be Angry With God When I Pray?
Let’s take a look at whether you can express your frustration or anger with God while you’re praying. As you’ve probably already guessed, the answer is yes. But let’s dig down a little deeper than the surface answer and discover the beauty of why we can express how we feel when we pray.
God Can Handle Your Feelings
You always need to remember that God is God and you are not. There’s much about God and what He is doing in your life that you cannot understand or see right now. So there’s an element of trust and faith as you talk to God, even if you are really mad about something. But it shouldn’t stop you from telling God exactly what you are thinking and feeling about an issue, or about your relationship with Him.
This type of transparency may be a challenge for you if you have learned, or been taught, that you can only tell God the good things in your life, or that you can only ask God for little things because, “Oh, God’s got all these other major things to deal with in the world, I can’t bother Him with my little requests.”
God loves you and wants to hear from you about anything, anytime, anywhere. There’s nothing too small or too big for God to handle.
“ Then God’s Message came again to Jeremiah: “Stay alert! I am God, the God of everything living. Is there anything I can’t do?” ( Jeremiah 32.26-27, The Message).
And, since God is eternal, there’s nothing you’re going to bring to Him in prayer that He hasn’t heard about before now. God can hear whatever you have to say, including your anger and frustration. God will meet you in the heat and depth of your emotion and care for you, just as you are.
I’ll share something here, and maybe you can relate. I used to think, wrongly, that if I did all the correct “Christian” things then somehow I was fooling God and He wouldn’t see how I was really thinking or feeling. I could just pray to Him like everything in my life was A-okay! This is what Adam and Eve tried to do after sin entered the world. They couldn’t hide from God then, and you and I don’t need to now.
How foolish I was and I am eternally grateful that I was awakened from that slumber of false thinking. I can’t hide anything from God, nor should I want to. I learned that you can’t pretend with God. God sees and knows all. You are known by what you say and do.
“For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit. For figs are not picked from thorn bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a briar bush. The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not practice what I tell you? Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and obeys them, I will show you whom he is like” (Luke 6.44-46, Amplified).
Jesus repeatedly called out the Pharisees for being hypocrites, and for pretending. They would act one way in public, but inside their hearts were very different. I use this very strong example as a way of saying that being angry with God but then not being honest about that anger and frustration when you pray is a type of pretending to be someone you are not. That’s not a good habit to keep engaging in as you follow along with Christ.
When you give yourself to God through Jesus Christ and follow Him, you are set free from your sin, but also from having to hide from God, from being estranged from God. You are in a relationship with God, and you are accepted and of great value to God. God delights in you. Be real with the God who is real to you and has saved you and loves you.
Honest Prayers Are the Best Prayers
If you’ve never expressed anger with God, or toward God before, in prayer or otherwise, then what I’m about to share may be a challenge for you. But stay with me, because I think that as you see different scriptural examples you might find that expressing emotions to God is okay and accepted.
The best place to find nearly any emotion expressed to God is in the Psalms. This is the prayer book of the Bible. There are prayers of praise and thankfulness all throughout the Psalms. But there are also songs of deep despair and anger. Prayers of honesty and frustration with the psalmist’s current circumstances.
For example, in Psalm 69 you will read part of a prayer calling for God to deal with the person’s enemies, “Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them. May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents.”
This is not a happy-happy, joy-joy kind of prayer. This is a pleading for God to take hard action. The person praying Psalm 69 is upset, angry, and afraid. But none of what he was feeling stopped him from telling God how he felt. The prayer is an honest one.
As another Psalm shows, praying out your anger gets it out of yourself and into God’s hands. The person praying this prayer is really, really upset, as you can see from the aggressive requests he makes of God, like, “Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.”
Those are strong feelings and strong words. But later in that same Psalm, he prays for God to save him and have mercy on him. The honesty of the prayer is startling.
When you bring your rage, fear, frustration, anger, and feelings of being disrespected to God, you put those feelings and emotions into God’s hands. Just because you prayed what you prayed in anger doesn’t mean you actually want it to happen. You’re letting God, who knows more than you do about the whole situation, handle it and take care of you.
You could also look at Psalms 5, 6, 11, 12, 35, 37, 40, 52, 54, 56-59, 79, 83, 94, 137, 139 and 143 to see honesty in prayers. The point is this: whatever you are feeling, but especially when you are feeling angry with God, or towards God, then just tell God that. You can be honest with God. There’s no need to hide your emotions or stamp down your feelings. God knows you better than you know yourself. When you pray, just let God see you as you are.
Throughout the Bible, you will see examples of people talking to God, screaming at God, whispering to God, telling Him that they are in awe, happy, sad, mourning, full of praise, angry, full of joy, sinful, begging for mercy, calling for their enemies to be destroyed, asking for safety and protection, seeking guidance and direction, and a whole range of other feelings and emotions.
Sometimes you might think that if you let God know you’re angry about something, or you’re upset with Him because He didn’t do something the way you wanted it to be done, that God may become angry with you.
“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” ( Psalm 145.8, NIV).
That’s simply not true. God wants you to pray to Him. God wants you to tell Him what you are feeling and thinking. God wants you to trust Him with yourself and your emotions. God wants you to grow in trust and faith in Him. God wants to meet you where you are, care for you and hold you, and let you know that you are heard and seen.
Let God know what you’re feeling. And, let God transform your feelings through His Spirit so you can see and know His will for your life. Keep on praying!