I know as a child I prayed to a God who loved me but my religion painted a different story. I grew up with a belief that God loved me but that foundational truth was used by my religious leaders... who would add... but God hated [E]vil Muslims, Homosexuals, Communists, Catholics, Liberals, Atheists or even the only slightly less conservative Baptists because they did not believe one had to be baptized to be 'saved.' I even felt like I might go to hell if I did not agree with everything the teachers said. I had a sense that salvation was dependent on me believing everything they said... It was as if I had to be very careful or I would end up in 'eternal damnation.'My baptism at age 11 was a truly transformational experience for me and tended to re-enforce that the hate-mongering that was the forked tongued messages that my religious teachers were espousing was 'The Truth.'
I most certainly prayed to a loving God after my baptism but I didn't do much listening. Later spiritually trans-formative experiences gave me the ability to understand that there were two distinct voices that were both called "God" in my religion. One was God=Love and the other was a God of War. The more I communicated with God-love and heard that voice answer back the less that the God of War held any power over me... but even then it was not an overnight thing to eliminate that other voice from my life... It is as layers of an onion... Many decades later, I communicate frequently to the God=Love... and I can hardly sit for more than a few minutes listening to the double minded teachers who say that God is love out of one side of her mouth and hate out of the other.