In this episode we speak with therapist, theologian and author, Mark Karris. For anyone going through a faith deconstruction, prayer is often near the top of the list of things we struggle to make sense of. And Mark is certainly no exception to this. He had the kind of traumatic childhood you’d only expect to see in a film. But despite all his prayers, and the prayers of his church, the situation steadily deteriorated. So we asked Mark why so often our prayers aren’t answered? How can a God of love observe such suffering without intervening? Why does God often seem to answer quite trivial prayers, and ignore the more significant ones? Mark has a fascinating take on all our questions, and proposes a hopeful, loving and grounded vision of prayer.

After the interview Nomad hosts Tim Nash and Nick Thorley reflect on their own faith deconstruction and how it has radically redefined how they understand and practice prayer.

Interview starts at 17m 45s.

Image used with permission.


Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer With the Uncontrolling Love of God

Religious Refugees: (De)Constructing Toward Spiritual and Emotional Healing


Mark Gregory Karris


“God’s power is God’s wise and loving ability to work through and upon co-created elements to enact powerful liberating change towards beauty, truth, healing, goodness and flourishing.”

“Conspiring prayer is a form of prayer where we create space in our busy lives to align our heart with God’s heart, where our spirit and God’s Spirit breathe harmoniously together, and where we plot together to subversively overcome evil with acts of love and goodness.”

“Sometimes I just think we’re praying to God, and God’s saying, ‘I know – I want you to do that very thing.”


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  1. Sherryl Magee Jul 29, 2020

    Nick & Tim,

    I loved the episode with Mark Karris! I’ve read Divine Echoes and am currently reading Religious Refugees. This is the first time I have come across you all and I can resonate with what the two of you were discussing after the conversation with Mark. I grew up in a Southern Baptist church here in the States and stayed in that Evangelical (as we call it here) type of church until 2 years ago. For reference, I am 56. I was on a journey that I did not even know I was on until I had an event propel me into full fledged deconstruction! I had books on prayer, why prayers aren’t answered as we had hoped, how to pray, etc. I had participated in a prayer ministry when my daughter was little and again when she was in college. When I saw that my prayers for her were not “answered”, well it was more than I could take. It was hard that I worked in the Christian school where she had graduated from when I began to question prayer and really all of the teachings I had been following. I left that job in June of 2019. Anyway, it really is strange to look back on what I did believe about prayer and to now look at it a completely different way. Thanks for the episode!

    • Hi Sherryl,
      So glad you enjoyed the episode, that’s really encouraging to hear.
      It is strange looking back on our old beliefs, isn’t it?! Me and Nick do a spin off show for a supporters, where we revisit all the old nomad episodes and talk about how our beliefs have changed. We were very evangelical when we started nomad, so we now look at those old episodes with a mixture of embarrassment and amusement!

  2. Dylan Oct 15, 2020

    Love the episode and the ideas raised. However I can’t help think of all the passages this seems to go against (which is natural part of deconstruction). The most glaring to me might be Matt 7:11 or perhaps verses which directly say to petition god such as Eph 6:18 or 1 Tim 2:1. Are we able to arrive at an interpretation of these in light of what Mike is saying? Thanks

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