“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.”
Can You Pray For Me?
On a walk to the park yesterday, the sun was bright and clear and the sky felt scrubbed and clean. It was the perfect winter day; crisp and lively. My thoughts turned to prayer and as I often do, I prayed for God to soften the hearts of our world leaders.
In this, I’m a bit of a 50/50 guy. Sometimes I feel very religious and spiritual and other times I feel that there is nothing there. The lesson of Doubting Thomas who had to see to believe which led to the lesson of believing and then seeing makes me wonder if anyone is seeing anything.
Could my prayers to soften the hearts of the world leaders work? I think that the answer is no. My understanding is this:
- God put men and women on the earth so that they would worship Him.
- Prayer is a form of praising God, it is a personal one-to-One kind of thing.
- God gave man Free Will.
In all of the times that I can recall in the Bible when people are praying to God, it is never to pray for someone else to do something. It is always “God lift me up” and that sort of thing.
And here is the deal: you can not weaponize God.
No more can you ask God to hurl down a bolt of lightning to smite Tommy Derkins for stealing your girlfriend than you can ask God to change someone’s mind. Nor could I ask God to heal Tommy after the bolt of lightning; Tommy would have to ask for that himself. Free will.
If you tell me that you will pray for me, that makes me feel good. You care about me. But the mechanic of prayer doesn’t work that way. I would be better served if you made me some cookies or if you walked with me to the park.
It can be tricky when reading the Bible. There are a few times when Paul in his epistles says “I pray that you do such and such” but that is the word meant as “ask”. The word has two meanings, both mean ask but prayer to God is really meant as praising or worship.
All of those Prayer Groups in the churches are of empty purpose except that it makes the people feel better. There can be no result because you can’t use God. The same with the little children saying “bless mommy, bless daddy and bless sparky my dog”, this child is being taught something that can not happen.
It is a personal journey and a personal relationship with God. You can not ask God to make someone else feel better, they have to ask for that. It is the mechanics and anything out side of that is wishful thinking.
I understand that it feels good to “send good energy your way”. But, nothing happens. I can’t move a cloud with my thoughts and I can’t ask God to change the weather because it doesn’t work and never has worked.
You could ask for a miracle. There are no atheists in foxholes, there are times in our lives when things are dire and we have little hope. God does answer prayers but they are personal things about yourself, no where does it say that God will do stuff for you like softening the hearts of our world leaders. In fact, in the Bible when healing is mentioned it is always described as a miracle. Rare stuff indeed.
Keep your prayers to yourself, that is how it works. It is by your own free will that you choose to praise God and pray for a better life. And then, God will bless you and your life will be better. Invest in that, my friends.
So, can you pray for me?
One thought on “Can You Pray For Me?”
Nice essay. Good stuff in here. Really good. Of course, “Can you pray for me?” can be read at least two ways. I can’t take the place of you praying, but I can and do pray that God will smile on you. I don’t know how much good that does with God. I’m not one to think that God intercedes and answers prayers directly – after all, God already knows what the problems are and what’d we’d prefer happen. But I do think there is something very important in being receptive to the divine, which prayer can help us do. Petitioning God is different than being open to God. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from asking.
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