Ever feel bad because your prayers are full of self-pity? I sometimes do. But if self-pity's where I'm at and all I've got, then it's no use trying to hide it from God--I might as well tell Him about it. And that's what I do. So I really appreciated Eugene Peterson's perspective on that subject when I recently read his notes on Psalm 77--a self-pitying prayer if ever there was one. (How's this for a pathetic way to talk to God: "'Just my luck,'" I said. 'The High God goes out of business just the moment I need him,'" Psalm 77:10, MSG).
In his commentary on that passage in Conversations: The Message Bible with Its Translator, Peterson remarks, "Dead-ended as self-pity is, prayer doesn't forbid it. Any place is the right place to begin to pray. But we mustn't be afraid of ending up someplace quite different from where we start. . . . Let [self-pity] lead you to higher ground where it is tranformed into worship."
If you'd like to read more of Peterson's reflections on prayer in The Message, make sure to go to the Pray! landing page and get the free download. It includes 21 readings on seven passages each from the Old Testament, the Psalms, and the New Testament. It's only available for two weeks more, though, so do it today.