22 September 2009

Asking prayer?

Why pray? It is not a silly question. For those outside the faith, why the devout bother is a fair question for which they have no answer. For those inside the faith, there are often a series of answers, some of which I think good, some not. One thing we know is people pray for things and events.

Let's dismiss I hope, the often (dare I say "excessively") heard idea that praying for an event or thing is wrong. Praying for a new job, car, bicycle, someone else's our own healing or for even for a winning lottery number is not on its face wrong. I doubt that God sends winning numbers, health or bicycles. But in asking for those or other things what we do is tell God, and perhaps ourselves what is of concern to us.

Now in one sense that is a bit silly, we say God knows everything and indeed that is so. So my telling God I really need a new job or a cash windfall because I am concerned for my family's home, health and the other things I need to do with the income does not enlighten God. It does tell me something though, it makes me aware of my priorities.

So, asking God for a new red car is not on its face wrong. Asking because we think the red car will be a, "chick magnet" and allow us to find our way into easy sexual encounters is another matter. Maybe, realizing we are a bit embarrassed to tell God why we want the red car is part of our spiritual journey.

So, my suggestion is that we ask ourselves what we want to petition God for, and why. When we do, perhaps our priorities will change.

Consider that when we pray for others, we are telling God, and ourselves that someone's welfare, healing or journey is important to us than the red car. We are saying we care for that person or group. That says to God and to us, that we have a priority.

Why tell God? Does not an all knowing God already have the information? Yes, but two things are at work here. God loves us and we tell God our needs and hopes as we tell our friends because it is part of our loving relationship. And knowing our priorities, and the caring of others for them is part of our journey towards God.

I am here saying then that when we ask for things, we better not expect them to fall from the clouds. God does not work that way. But we should realize that what we ask for tells us, and God something of where our center is. Jesus said, "...where your treasure is there is your soul (heart.)" Yup. He also told us to ask for some things, "Give us this day our daily bread" is an asking prayer. Again we do not expect bread from heaven, we seek opportunities to make (gluten free in my house) bread.

The essentials then are these: we recognize that this is God's creation God is ultimately in charge. When we ask for things we are not seeking miracles, but rather having a conversation about direction and priority. We know, and God knows that we need things. Perhaps a few less things than we think (do not forget that red car!) but we do have legitimate needs. We tell God not to inform God, but to realize our relationship with a creator who loves us. We also, because we are a communion of saints, know and care about the needs of others. And we expect ourselves to work on those needs.

Where does this fit with my "Shut up and know me" post a few days ago and my thoughts on the collect? Well there are several sorts of prayer as there are several sorts of conversation. More on that anon.

Now Lord? About that Kawasaki ConCors? I really do need it, and it is fuel efficient, and um, err, Lord I mean, I really


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

I quite agree!

Leonard said...

Thank you.

Tomorrow I´m having yet another eye surgery for retina tears. I´ve had three recently and one laser treatment...tomorrow they are going to do some very serious stuff and I´ll be unable to see out of my left eye for three months...then, we will see if I will see.

I thought I was fine with this but I noticed I´m very scared. I will offer up my plee for acceptance of whatever reality will come to be...I trust God will help me get to wherever it is where I am meant to go.

Blessings to you and yours,
Leonardo Ricardo

JimB said...


I shall add you to my prayers. God will walk with you whatever the path.


Anonymous said...

In an argument with a good but devoutly ethist friend, he simply could not conect to why one would pray for the sick if not for a angel brught micarle recovery. If i had read your post, I couldnt explain it clearly, the post puts it to ease.

susankay said...

Thanks for this (I actually wandered over here to tell you that I LOVE the "mosaic not melting plot" post you put up over at the Mad One's).

I am truly unclear about prayer but I pray -- and pray all the more since I started hanging out at Episcopal blogs. Go figure.

I almost never pray for stuff or specifics because I would keep having to add "Thy will, not mine" and it gets boring.

I pray for peace and for healing and for freedom from fear. I mostly just say: "God bless ..." figuring that God can figure out what a blessing would be.

I absolutely agree about the connectedness thing both with God and others -- and suspect that it may be the same thing.

And prayers for Leonardo.

JimB said...


Thanks! I am glad you liked that thought, and very glad you stopped by. I am hoping all went well for Leonardo, and yes praying for his recovery.


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