As I’ve often said, my mind tells me that faith must be logical. Therefore prayer, in some ways seems a fairly illogical thing. Let me explain.
I believe that God exists within me as Spirit. That spirit experiences life through me. As such, God is aware of every thought, every nuance of my life. He knows what I really believe, feel, desire, fear, in a more complete way that perhaps even I do.
That always begs the question of why pray? God already knows. No doubt there are a number of “Christians” (those who if asked do they believe in God would answer yes, but won’t think about God again until someone brings up the subject) find this pretty darn convenient. No reason to spend the time, God is already aware.
Christians are mighty good at making excuses. You’re prayer not answered? Why that’s simply.
- God works in mysterious ways.
- Sometimes God answers by “unanswered” prayers.
- Give God more time.
- God knows best, you’re asking for something that would be against your interests in the long run, or against God’s plan.
The point is, is there a point?
The conventional answer is that we pray because it is good for us. We find peace in the action. We feel the burden of problems lighten when we turn them over to God. More importantly, we turn our minds from the world and enter into the realm of the transcendent.
What to pray about?
That becomes even more troublesome. I heard a man speak thusly:
My infant daughter was in the hospital and she was dying. She has been suddenly struck down by a genetic heart defect. Her time was short and the only treatment, her only chance, was a heart transplant. The chances were slim that a heart so tiny would be found. And I began to pray, until I was literally frozen still. How, I agonized, could I pray for a new heart for my baby daughter, when it must mean that some other father must lose his own child? How can I pray for that?
Indeed, we are often (or we should be) faced in prayer with the question–am I praying for some selfish thing that will benefit me and will be a burden to another? Even in the silliness of praying for our “team to win” aren’t we praying that others suffer disappointment?
Are we praying only for things and outcomes that make our lives happier and more manageable?
Do we spend much time in thanking God for what is? Need we? Doesn’t he already know? Back to that again! Yes he does know, but in the act of thanking, we remind ourself of our blessings. We remove ourselves out of ourselves so to speak and can see the bigger picture. We have perspective. Our problems shrink, and we can realize that others in our world suffer real maladies such as hunger and lack of shelter.
If you are at all like me, you might find that you talk a mile a minute to God. This is neither good nor bad. But it needs be tempered, I would argue, with some just “being in the presence” quiet.
I talk to our Brandy every morning and every night. I go out on the porch and I chat with her for a minute or two. I have no illusions about this, I realize that I am doing something that soothes me, making me feel close to her. I tease her about taking up flying as I watch a bird or butterfly flutter by. I feel close to her spirit. I realize in some hidden place that I am really talking to God, and he is comforting my hurt at losing my dog by this “conversation” each morning and night.
It is no different from discussing philosophy with the jade plant as I water it. God knows, and reaches out in the most gentle and tender ways to be “with us.” A formal prayer is simply one way to reach out, or reach in.