God sounds frustrated in this passage, saying, in essence, “Plead your case! What have I done to you—what’s your complaint? Answer me!” God wants our participation, even if it’s marred by anger or disappointment. The Israelites kept backing away from such engagement, acting out their fears and hostilities in foolish, counter-productive ways.

How often is my own prayer a kind of backing away from God? Whether I’m angry at God or frustrated at work or feeling hurt by a loved one, the strong emotion will quickly shut down prayer unless I am quite intentional about bringing it to the surface, allowing my honest reactions to be part of the prayer.

Am I disappointed today? Upset, weary, furious? Can I bring my contentious, conflicted self to prayer, anyway? Perhaps I can imagine God saying to me, “Speak up! Argue or cry! But do it here, with me.”

—Vinita Wright serves as Managing Editor, New Product Development at Loyola Press, Chicago, IL. Click here to enjoy Loyola Press’s “31 Days with St. Ignatius,” a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality in honor of St. Ignatius’ Feast Day on July 31. Content includes articles, blog posts, and videos to help you learn about and apply the principles of Ignatian spirituality.