I really do love my Christian friends. I would help them in any way possible. One friend of mine posted on facebook recently that he needed prayer for a family member having a routine outpatient procedure.
This got me thinking back to the days of my coming out atheist. I don’t harp on this a lot in my book “preacher boy” but I felt like discussing it here for those who read me (thanks to you both! ha ha)
I have been a part of over ten thousand prayer meetings in my life. Until I was twenty one, I prayed every day dozens of times. I met with others to pray at church and before guitar practice or play rehearsals etc.
The idea sickens me now. My position is this…either go to a doctor and trust science or pray. Don’t do both. Especially for a basic procedure.
At work at Liberty in the admissions office, there was a man with one leg. We gathered to pray before the shift began and people sitting around him would ask for God to heal their colds, headaches, upset stomachs and etc. Nobody ever prayed aloud for him to regrow his limb. We just had an unspoken understanding that it was God’s will for him to have one leg.
But what about the colds then? “If it be your will, please allow my cold to go away?” It will be gone in a day anyway unless it’s pneumonia. Coworkers prayed for “travelling mercies” to drive in their new SUVs down the street thirty minutes in clear weather. The SUV has 12 air bags PLUS seatbelts.
Prayer just confuses me. Why not ask for something God-sized? Why not, since you have God on the line–ask for something amazing?
Next time you are talking to an annoying Christian, try these simple responses to their time honored cliches.
1. “God is outside of time” –oh, I guess we should try praying for things in the past then since God is outside of time. Dear God, please go back and prevent the Holocaust…
2. “God is all powerful” Can God cure AIDS? If He can, he should do it to show us how his power is beyond the purvew of modern science. We would all be bewildered and have no choice but to praise Him for spontaneously curing everyone at once all around the world who has AIDS. This would bring glory to God, and not man. I will start holding my breath right now!
3.”God is all loving” Can we pray that people in hell can be released? They learned their lesson! Surely a loving God wouldn’t have it in his makeup, if you will, to cause or allow senseless torture. If people in hell cannot reform or repent and can only suffer, there is then, no POINT except torture. For all time? This cannot be in the master plan of someone whose essence is essentially LOVE.
4. “Prayer works!” how so? Does it work empirically? Probably not. Does God do anything of value for those who ask for it? If those things he does are explainable by natural causes…why answer it at all? It would go against the Biblical precedents of the supernatural.
CHALLENGE TO ALL WHO BELIEVE IN PRAYER
Approach someone in a wheelchair. Tell the person to get out of the chair and walk in the name of Jesus Christ and in the Power of His Resurrection! Amen!
Approach a dead person at his funeral and command him to rise and walk in the newness of life, dead to sin but alive to Christ!
Approach an amputee and command the missing limb(s) to grow back.
In any of these three scenarios, my guess is that a sane Christian would back out of the challenge. Is growing a limb too hard for God? Is it God’s will that everyone with a missing limb be without it forever? Perhaps God feels that way about everyone with pancreatic cancer. Or Alzheimer’s! WHY THE HELL SHOULD WE PRAY ABOUT THE MINOR ILLNESSES THEN? God’s power is limitless! WHY PRAY ONLY ABOUT PRESENT AND FUTURE SITUATIONS? God is outside of time and His power is tremendous!
Deep down in all Christians there is the faint beeping of their internal bullshit detector…this little device keeps them from participating in the challenges. Far better to just pray quietly with “every head bowed, every eye closed” for things that will probably work themselves out one way or the other without the faintest hint of transcendence.
Lastly, on a lighter note…
“Pray for me that I will pass the test” Study!
“Pray that I will get there safely.” Drive safely!
“Pray that the money comes in on time” Get a lawyer/call the bank
Dear person requesting prayer. I know you are anxious about your test tomorrow. I don’t think you need the creator of the Universe to intervene and cause a legitimately supernatural effect on your behalf. Why do you think so little of yourself that you need God’s help to do something so simple? I hope your cousin recovers from the surgery, but do we need something beyond medical expertise in this situation? Is everything in your life pending an outcome incumbent upon “cheating” the laws of physics or time and space? Just work hard, wish for the best, and make wise choices. I will be there for you when you win or fail, because I am a good friend who wants you to be happy too. Don’t stress and please don’t be reliant upon an invisible dead carpenter to “stack the deck” in your favor in the game of life. Just play!