"God, Whoever You are..."

maybe when we talk to God we should start by addressing Him -
"God, Whoever You actually are..." & then continue...

just as a "footnote" to denote we really don't know who God is... we're just fumbling for different representations in our minds of Who He is.
the name "God" is of course inadequate for Who He actually is. it's just the best we have (for now).

This was actually C.S. Lewis' footnote to all prayers:
"He whom I bow to ONLY knows to whom I bow"
[wow. He is the ONLY one who knows WHO He is... none of us truly do. how could we?]

so since we don't know exactly who "He" is, we...
"embrace in heart Symbols (I know) which cannot be the thing Thou art."
– C.S. Lewis, “Footnote to All Prayers” (a very short poem you can read HERE.)

yes, pray in confidence and talk to God as if He is sitting next to you on the couch. because He is. & that's how i talk to Him.
as long as we realize this is an appropriate footnote (to keep in the back of our minds) to every prayer.

i can remember in 1 of my 1st theology classes in seminary, my prof said something like this the very 1st day... "remember - theology is just our best attempt to say something about God. it's not really who God is... it's just our educated guess."

i loved David Crowder's analogy for his album a while back A Collision. Sixsteps sent me some promo stuff back then and part of it was an explanation of the discography that you see pictured to the left. Crowder talked about that diagram of the atom. it's just a diagram. that's not REALLY what an atom looks like. it's just our best idea. our best representation.
& that's exactly what our worship is doing. it's our best effort to lift up who God is. Who we think He is at least. 

theology is our best representation too. even the name "God".

it's the best we can do.

so, when we pray we use familiar symbols (like Lewis and Crowder mentioned) - like Father, God, King, Lord, and so on. 
but we must be careful with this because, we may falsely assume that our idea of God is identical to God. 
that the real God ‘out there’ is no bigger and no different from the idea we have ‘in here’ in our heads.

so, our symbols & familiar language carry with them our own distortions—concepts of God that are partial at best, misleading at worst.

we have to remember that our best symbolic representations [just like the atom] are in the end merely "frail images" of God, images that "cannot be the thing" that God is.

[but we still desperately need these images. and we need LOTS of different ones. but more on that another time.]

(thanks to Brian McLaren for giving me better articulation for this idea i've felt in my heart for a long time.)

“Whatever the reality actually is to which the word or name ‘God’ points, we know that God’s reality must always be far higher and greater and other than our concepts and images of God—even our best concepts and images.” 
- Brian McLaren

yes. YES. YES! that sums it up perfectly.

and that makes us feel really good.

because it puts us in our place.

it makes us feel so small as we realize our best efforts to understand who God is are simply cracking the tip of the iceberg.

and that realization will do wonders in your soul.

it has in mine.