Prayer for a Questioning Heart


iStock_000011463563Small question sign

Nicole C. Ball, Church Relations Officer

This weekend, I had the distinct honor of preaching in the pulpit of Salem Presbyterian Church in Salem, Virginia. This congregation is pastored by Rev. Dr. Will Robinson and Rev. Janet Chisom, both alumni of our institution. Similarly, they have a long history of Union support which only made their welcome more enjoyable. Tyler and I were greeted with incredible hospitality by the lovely folks at SPC, Salem.

I admit, however, I was more anxious than normal as I felt tasked to share a pastoral word about the events of terror and hatred some 48 hours before in Paris, France. Not unlike most of my pastoral colleagues, I had prepared a sermon for Sunday and looked forward to a restful weekend. But as I have learned in my time as a person in ministry, the world does not stop turning on account that I ask it to pause, momentarily.

The events in Paris, and others which have streamed across media outlets in the past year, have caused me to question so much as a member of humanity and as a person of faith. I can’t help but question the significant impact on our selves and our relationships with one another when we exchange metaphoric jabs, painful uppercuts and kidney shots, choosing divisiveness and aiming to underscore our “rightness” in a given matter. I can’t help but question what we lose when we elect to settle into absolutes: always and nevers, rights and wrongs, do’s and don’ts. I can’t help but question why we seek to land securely on a “truth” we believe to be the fix for the problems around us, eager to move away from situations which are uncomfortable for us, or which challenge us in our faith.

I can’t help but question.

In her collection of prayers and reflections titled, Seasons of Your Heart, Sister Macrina Weiderkehr writes  about her, “seasonal struggle with God” and encourages us to recognize those same peaks and valleys in our own spiritual lives. Her work, “Prayer for a Questioning Heart”, challenges me to consider how, in my questions, I may further find God’s grace to pilgrim through this life.

It seems to me Lord

that we search

much too desperately

for answers

when a good question

holds as much grace

as an answer.



you are the Great Questioner

Keep our questions alive

that we may always be seekers

rather than settlers.


Guard us well

from the sin of settling in

with our answers

hugged to our breasts.

Make of us

a wondering



restless people

And give us the feet of pilgrims

on this journey unfinished.

May it be so.


*To learn more about Salem Presbyterian Church, check out their website:

*To learn more about Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, her publications and her blog:


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