Living the Questions at SRCC

Monday, February 27, 2006


I'm a newbie at blogging....but here goes. First, I truly am enjoying LTQ despite my apparent mini-breakdowns, really! However, feeling "guilty" about last night's session and my comments on intercessory prayer. As much as I loved Sandy's story about prayer - and I BELIEVE it - I was stuck in my "prayer doesn't work" motif.
Been thinking about it all day. I found myself agreeing (!) with the LTQ folk about the connectedness and intimacy of God....and how it seemed they were saying prayer isn't really so much about the outcome, but about the experience, the intimacy with God.
The guilt is about on one hand believing, trusting, having faith, and on the other hand not really believing prayers get answered, AND SAYING THAT OUT LOUD! I mean, isn't it somewhat about our perception? How we choose to see it that "it all worked out for the best," or "everything happens for a reason?" Don't we after-the-fact find a way to see it as a prayer answered...just not in the way we may have wanted?
So, I'm stuck about intercessory prayer. Stuck between "I believe in prayer," and "Prayer doesn't work."
I think I've pondered this for years. Doesn't it say something in Job about how when something goes wrong we blame God for not answering our prayers but when things go RIGHT we attribute it to talents, our effort, our luck, etc. but not to God??
In my guilt-yet-willing-to-look-at-it, I am pondering.....aren't I supposed to pray that "God's will be done?" anyway, and therefore what would my intercessory prayer be beyond that? --- dana


  • Dana - I identified and appreciated your post very much. Like you, I BELIEVE in prayer, and yet... I find myself being dubious, even doubtful, wondering if prayer really 'works.' I also agree that it is about the experience of intimacy - 'being' with God - but it is natural that we should look to the external results in the outer world, as well. Although we know we're not 'in control' of things, we know what we want (at least sometimes), and we want to see it happen!

    Perhaps our difficulty with prayer comes because of the nature of prayer (the 'beingness' rather than the 'effectiveness' of it) -- and the nature of a God who may not be 'in control' in the rather simple, magical sense we have always been taught to think...

    In the case of natural disasters, for example, I think God hears our prayers and might respond, "Yes, my child, this grieves me like it does you. I don't control the weather or earthquakes -- remember I am found not in the earthquake, wind, or fire, but a still, small voice. Perhaps, working together, we can convince a busy world to invest money in better storm warning systems, levees, retrofitting of structures, etc."

    And yet... There is Sandy's testimony of healing, which I also witnessed, honor, and am eternally grateful for. And there are the studies that show that hospital patients heal faster when they are prayed for. I remember an article by Norman Cousins many years ago on the healing power of laughter. Prayer is a healing act and process by its very nature -- being contemplative, opening to God and others' welfare, and putting one's self in a position of acceptance.

    I think this is the essence of praying for God's will to be done -- the acknowledgment that we don't know what is best and trusting that a higher wisdom does. But I still think that attributing disasters to God is an insult to God. But why doesn't God intervene to stop tragedy and evil in the world? Of course I don't know -- but I can only surmise it's because creation made the world a natural process and humanity was made to have 'dominion' (stewardship, not control) over it.

    Back to that notion of working together for good (a form of prayer, I believe) in the world of real people.

    I don't think we need to feel guilty about our doubts but rather focus on continuing an honest exchange of ideas and sharing of our experiences with others and with God.

    Prayerfully, -- Rick

    By Blogger Revrickm, at 11:17 AM  

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