Pray For Me
I was out for dinner the other night and was asked about prayer. And you know, I found myself at a bit of a loss.
I believe in God, and at one point was a very active Anglican. Like many of us, I have let life get in the way of regular church attendance although my value and belief system remain the same.
Anyway, my friend asked me why some prayers get answered and some don’t. And I found myself bumbling over a non-answer. So I continued to think about it. And here is what I’ve decided.
We pray for things we want all the time because we figure that God is actually an invisible magician who will make that extra money materialize in your wallet, or miraculously heal your terminal illness.
But I don’t think that’s what it’s for.
I think that prayer only works in conjunction with our free will as humans. I think that prayer works within the limitations of our willingness to change, or accept help from others. There is no free ride. God is going to make you work for it.
So if you are ill for example, and you pray to be healed, what you are really looking for is an ability to find the right people to help you get better. For them to recognize your problems, offer you help for them, and for you to accept it. When you are praying for more money, the answer may present itself in a job offer that you would ultimately choose or turn down.
The choices that we have are the biggest deciding factor in the outcomes of our lives. Prayer, I think, is about having the clarity to make the best choice.
Because my friend is right. Why would God choose to let a baby die, or heal one person and let the next die? Why would someone spend years suffering emotional pain and never get better? We are limited by our humanness, I think. I don’t think God makes any of that shit happen.
Remember way back to the Garden of Eden? When Eve fucked it up for all of us? We could have had it all, but she made a bad choice, and broke the deal. So now we have to trudge along, learning to help one another through the mounds of shit that make up life on this Earth.
Does anyone remember this:
A man was stranded on his roof during a flood and prayed to God to save him. He had very strong faith.
Very soon, a neighbor came by paddling a canoe and offered to take him to dry land. The man shook his head and refused. “It’s ok. God will save me.”
A little later, as the water rose, the coast guard came by in a motorboat and asked him to climb aboard. Again the man refused. “It’s ok. God will save me.”
Finally, as the water approached the roof, rescuers in a helicopter threw down a rope. The man shook his head again. “It’s ok. God will save me.”
So of the course this idiot drowned. When he got to Heaven, he asked God why he didn’t save him. God looked at him in disbelief. “I sent three different rescuers for you, you moron, and you refused each one of them. ‘”
My point is this. I think prayers do get answered, but it works through our fellow man. We spend so much time looking for answers in the wrong places. So pray, but don’t expect a circus show. I think God is with you, but we still have to see the answers when they are staring us in the face.
And I think it’s not that some prayers don’t get answered, we just don’t see the answers. Or it’s not what we want to hear, so we blame God for ignoring us.
So pray. And open your eyes. And accept it when the answer is “no”. Cause sometimes, Daddy’s got to draw the line.