Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Please don't think of my next paragraph as something heretical or blasphemous; it is merely the product of a day of introspection on what I pray for and why.  Sometimes I feel like prayer becomes a list of requests, which makes is seem daunting and tedious and I often avoid doing it.  So then I think, this can't be right.

What if prayer is little more than a meditation process that allows us time to organize our thoughts and feel like someone out there has heard our pleas?  If God already has a set plan for our lives, and already knows the course we are going to take and what prayers we are going to pray, what does prayer actually do?  Does God “change his mind,” so to speak?  I've heard people say this, but I feel like it's something we have invented as a solution to something we don't understand.  I feel good after I pray; I have a good feeling of calmness inside of me, but is that the Holy Spirit working in me or is that my brain thanking me (and thus calming me down) for giving it time to process thoughts on my life?  Does prayer work like a democracy…in terms of, if enough people pray for the same thing to happen, does God decide to grant it?  If not, if it doesn’t matter how many people pray for something, why pray collectively at all?  If God is omniscient and knows what we are thinking at all times, why must there be formalized communication in the form of prayer?  I understand prayers of thanks and acknowledgment, but praying in the manner of a request just seems futile sometimes.  I pray, but I find myself loading my prayers with disclaimers and contingencies.  “God, if it’s our will, please allow this situation to go as I want, but if I am not wanting the proper thing, please let me realize what You want for me, and let Your will be done.”  Why pray for what I want at all?  Am I praying wrong?  I know there are infinite passages of scripture on the power of prayer, but I suppose you could say this is just one of those concepts that I can't fully wrap my head around.

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