Prayer

25 04 2014

I ran into this on Facebook this morning:

Ok prayer warriors. I need some help. I’ve been on meds for 4 days, and am truly feeling a good deal better. However, the cough is just not getting better. I intend to call the doctor in the morning, but on the meantime, would you seek The Lord with me that he will heal. I am a very impatient sick person, but just really want back to the task of ministering ASAP.

On the one hand: it’s awesome to know you need help, and to be able to ask for it.  A lot of my own suffering is of the self-inflicted I-can-handle-this type.  Heaven knows how much easier my life would be if I would sometimes sit back and say, you know what, this IS too much for me to handle.

But here’s what I don’t get: the concept of the Prayer Warrior.  Let’s not even get into the weirdly violent imagery for something so deeply personal and internalized.   It seems predicated on the notion that God isn’t going to notice that you’re sick or in need unless you pray about it.  And that same God is going to notice more if lots of petitions come in for the same issue.  Does God have an administrative assistant keeping track of inbox messages?  Some sort of automated tally counter that decides what should be intervened with that day?

What kind of God is that?  What kind of creator doesn’t take care of a beloved creation unless asked to do so?  What parent would see that their child has a need, and then wait for that child to ask for that need to be met?  “I would have given you breakfast, but you didn’t ask for it…” Really?  Is that the kind of God people actually believe in?

It’s not that I dismiss the power of prayer.  I think it is quite powerful.  But I think it has absolutely zero impact on the Creator Mind.  The intelligence and awesome power of that mind is already abundantly aware of what’s happening in the universe.  Prayer, if it enters that consciousness at all, is merely a reminder of what the Creator already knows.

So what is the point of prayer?  There are different kinds – there are petitions like what the poster above is asking for, divine intervention in a situation that seemingly cannot be fixed by human means.  There are prayers for guidance.  Prayer of gratitude, of thanksgiving.  But what unifies all of them is not the Creator’s response to them.  What those prayers have in common, what they actually do, is to bring us into closer communion with the Creator.  Ideally, prayer brings our own frequency into harmony with the resonance of the universe itself.

Less than ideally, though… there is such a thing as bad prayer.  There are people out there sincerely praying for death, destruction, mayhem… think Westboro Baptist, but they are far from the only ones.  It is tempting to dismiss them as crackpots who don’t matter, to live happily with the illusion that if you ignore them, they’ll go away.  But their prayers and petitions are clashing disharmony.  They foul the universal music for everyone.  Returning their anger and evil with our own wrath does nothing to rebalance the harmony. It serves only to make the noise louder.  Only the steady and rising power of relentless love and true justice can finally resolve that dissonance.

They say prayer has the power to change the world.  They’re right.  But the power of prayer isn’t in the response from the Creator.  The power is in the response from us.

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2 responses

1 05 2014
Katherine

I’m not familiar with Buffalo Woman, but I’ve been known to say some things about Christians myself, and I used to identify as one. I think I’m with Gandhi on my opinion of Christianity.

30 04 2014
bob

you should see what the buffalo woman (MM) says about Christians..

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