The Phallic Fetish Of Prayer

Portrait of a Moroccan Girl

Elijah went to meet with God. You would think there might be this 3-D screen that would pop-out of the sky and God would appear to Elijah in the smoke and music of a rock concert, and all of those came believe me, but God wasn’t in any of them.

He was in the silence. In the quiet.

In the place where all things break down, God was there. Silence is the nothingness of noise. God, in this moment equated himself with the nothingness of noise to get across to Elijah that in the nothingness, in the most deconstituted place of his existence, She was there with him.

I think Elijah has a lot to tell us about prayer.

To help us better understand what has happened to prayer, I think we have to listen in to a psychoanalyst by the name of Jacques Lacan. When a child is in its predominant learning stage it looks to the mother as the sole nurturer of its reality. The role of the mother cannot be underscored here. The child believes that the mother is pulled away by outside desires, because this is an unknown element, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan refers to this imaginary object as the Phallus. Which itself is an imaginary object.

It represents the unknown element.

During the early years the child will attempt to make itself the Phallus to attempt to become the very imagined desire that the mother is seeking. When in a moment of epiphany, the child begins to realize that they cannot fulfil the imagined desire the child then enters into castration. Which is the realization that it is powerless to fulfil this unknown desire.

When we come to pray, there is a tendency to assume that it is about us off-loading the stresses of our days, or verbalizing our Amazon Wish Lists to God or maybe even praying for world peace. In this instance we are attempting to deform prayer into something that is still about us. Think about this way: “God, I would love it if you could do something about the homeless lady down the street” or “Can you help me get into Harvard?” If you notice the first prayer, however altruistic, it still starts out with the concept of I, and ends with others.

It’s in this heartfelt prayer that we find traces of egotistical altruism.

It isn’t that the prayer itself is wrong, it’s that the underlying request lies in a spirit how it relates to us. So, in this example the prayer is indirectly about the other and directly about ourselves. We are projecting something than that isn’t true about ourselves.

I think if we also flip Lacan’s Phallus back on to prayer, we then also realize that we have imposed upon prayer something that it’s not. In that regard we are imposing our dreams, wishes and hopes on to something that is imaginary. We then anticipate that this imaginary object of our creation will materialize all of the things we are praying for. In this instance, prayer is not only perverted, but then, becomes something that itself encourages our imaginary presuppositions of prayer.

Prayer than plays into our deepest desires.

In that instance, prayer stops being prayer and is now a fetish. Where we focus all of our attention onto our imaginary understandings of prayer and begin to forget what prayer stands for. When we turn prayer into a fetish (focus on prayer itself rather than what it represents) we murder the symbolism that prayer represents. In that moment prayer becomes an idol we worship rather than discovering what is beyond the idol. We strip prayer of any real jouissance, (aka) orgasmic appeal or bliss, that comes out of not getting what you want, but rather what you need.

That’s why I think its important that Elijah didn’t discover God in the elements. Which is how the ancient world operated in their understanding of how God responded to their requests. It was in the nothingness that God responded or chose not to respond, depending on how you personally define it. The word for silence in that narrative is better explained as God’s voice was the silence itself. Elijah’s jouissance wasnt discovered in the flashes of light, but in the darkest moment of his life. His own dark night of the soul.

When he least expected it, he began to realize that even when there is nothing left to live for, God is that nothing left to live for.

And it’s not found in the responses to our prayers.

Its found in the non-responses to our prayers. In fact, God doesn’t answer at all in the typical rhetoric of how we have come to define prayers. God doesn’t answer. She doesn’t answer our prayers. Job learned this. Jesus learned this at his most tragic hour. But, this isn’t a bad thing. The idea that God interacts with every request isn’t present in the narrative arc of scripture, we see just the opposite, why? Because rather than God interacting with our prayers, she desires to interact with us. I think prayer isn’t whether we are spending 15 minutes with God, or how many times a day, or if we’re praying for lofty ideals, but rather its the realization that when we connect with another human and when we connect with the divine, we are praying. That is prayer.

The Jewish-Christian-Islamic patriarch Abraham was talking to one of his family members and he uses the word pray, in fact, a large portion of the Genesis narrative is peppered with this word usage: “And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen and thy herdsmen; for we [be] brethren.” (Genesis 3:18, KJV) Notice how prayer is used here. Not as a way to get something from God or as a Christmas stocking filled with all kinds of goodies, it’s used to encourage peace amongst one another. It’s a word that speaks of humanitarian cohesion. Not strife. Not violent disagreement.

But towards peace. It endorses familial connection. Familial repair.

To see that we are connected to one another.

In other places in Genesis it also used in the same way but as God being the one who is spoken to. Prayer is connecting to the person next to us, not for fixing a flat tire. Prayer is connection with the divine. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that those things don’t happen, I have personally experience the ecstatic nature of prayer, but there is more to it than the vending machine approach we see all too prevalent today. Prayer is the discovery and space where we encounter one another for the first time again and again. Where we encounter the Divine again and again and again. In that case, I hope we pray a whole lot more!

Read more responses on prayer this week as part of our new What Do I Really Believe? series at Patheos.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

173 responses to “The Phallic Fetish Of Prayer”

  1. Hey, possibly I’m getting some how off subject here, nevertheless I got checking your website and it appears great!.I’m establishing a web site and trying to produce it intriguing, but each single time I touch it I wreck some thing up. Did you design and design the blogsite by oneself? Can somebody with rather small experience do this, in addition to add frequent updates not having messing it? effectively, outstanding information and facts on right here, extremely helpful. Innovative with me;I didn’t be aware of countless ripples and depth to the tale till I searched here via Yahoo! Wonderful position.

  2. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  3. Very informative put up, love the best way you write and I feel that the data helps in a way. I don’t usually say this, but I feel this can be a great job done. For those who like to exchange links, I might be more than happy to supply a hyperlink again to your site. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers

  4. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  5. Hey very cool website!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful information here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  6. Youre so awesome, man! I cant believe I missed this blog for so long. Its just great stuff all round. Your design, man…too amazing! I cant wait to read what youve got next. I love everything that youre saying and want more, more, MORE! Keep this up, man! Its just too good.

  7. Thank you, I’ve just been searching for information about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve found out till now. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain about the source?

  8. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this increase.

  9. Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  10. Ha ha… I was just surfing around and took a glimpse at these reviews. I can’t believe that there’s still this much attention. Thanks for crafting articles about this.

  11. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  12. Thanks for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If attainable, as you grow to be an expert, would you mind updating your blog with more details?

  13. Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would definitely benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this okay with you. Regards!

  14. Thanks for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If attainable, as you grow to be an expert, would you mind updating your blog with more details?

  15. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical issues using this site, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  16. Thanks for every other informative site. Where else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I’m just now running on, and I’ve been at the look out for such info.

  17. Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too wonderful. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous website.

  18. Fed up with all the “pie in the sky”, forex Maverick finally reveals… 00:00. If you’ve got 15 minutes each day, you can plug into the Forex Cash Detective system

  19. I’m experiencing an issue with your rss feed . Don’t know why I am not able to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting equivalent rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thanks

  20. I¡¦m no longer certain the place you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time finding out much more or figuring out more. Thank you for great information I used to be searching for this info for my mission.

  21. I really like your blog.. very nice colors and theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. thanks

  22. I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

  23. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  24. Thanks for sharing superb informations. Your web site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you¡¦ve on this web site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for extra articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched all over the place and simply could not come across. What an ideal web site.

  25. I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your site. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Fantastic work!

  26. It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  28. 301 Moved Permanently Nice post. I study one thing tougher on completely different blogs everyday. It’ll always be stimulating to learn content material from other writers and practice somewhat one thing from their store. I’d prefer to use some with the content material on my weblog whether you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a hyperlink on your internet blog. Thanks for sharing. Regards, Best Furniture Manufacturer

  29. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  30. Hi there. I was just wondering why its such a big thing these days to have a ridiculous amount of ram in a computer? People tell me that the more Ram you have in your computer the faster your computer will be. I always thought that it was the processor that controls the speed of a computer and not the Ram.. . I had 512MB of Ram in my laptop and I have now changed it to 2Gigs of Ram and I’ve seen no difference in performance what so ever. . Could somebody please explain to me what does Ram does exactly?. Thanks in advance.

  31. I tried emailing but I am not sure if it was sent, so I’ve left a comment just to say that I’ve given you a spot on the featured resource list on our web site.Great blog!

  32. Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you offer. It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed material. Excellent read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  33. I intended to write you that bit of observation to help say thanks a lot over again relating to the pleasing techniques you’ve provided on this site. This is quite incredibly open-handed with you to provide extensively just what a few people might have distributed for an e-book in making some money on their own, specifically given that you might have tried it in the event you wanted. The ideas likewise served to become great way to be aware that other people have the identical fervor really like my own to know the truth much more when it comes to this problem. I believe there are lots of more pleasurable times ahead for folks who discover your website.

  34. I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  35. I in addition to my buddies were digesting the excellent secrets from your web page and suddenly came up with a horrible suspicion I never expressed respect to you for those secrets. Most of the men were definitely as a result stimulated to learn them and have now simply been taking advantage of these things. I appreciate you for turning out to be simply helpful as well as for settling on this sort of really good guides most people are really needing to know about. My sincere apologies for not expressing appreciation to you earlier.

  36. An fascinating discussion is value comment. I feel that it is best to write more on this subject, it won’t be a taboo topic but typically individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  37. It’s the best time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I’ve learn this publish and if I may I wish to counsel you some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you can write next articles regarding this article. I want to learn even more things approximately it!

  38. My brother suggested that I would possibly like How Much are Apple iPads? | Get Ipad for Free | How Much Do Ipads Cost. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You can not believe just how much time I had spent on it! Thanks!

  39. Great blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme. Appreciate it

  40. The very heart of your writing whilst sounding reasonable at first, did not really work well with me after some time. Somewhere throughout the paragraphs you managed to make me a believer unfortunately only for a while. I however have got a problem with your leaps in logic and you would do nicely to fill in all those breaks. If you can accomplish that, I would surely end up being amazed.

  41. Howdy, i study your weblog occasionally and i own a similar 1 and i was just wondering should you get a good deal of spam comments? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you’ll be able to suggest? I’m finding so considerably lately it’s driving me mad so any support is really considerably appreciated.

  42. Once I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any approach you perhaps can remove me from that service? Thanks!

  43. Certainly I like your website, however you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to inform you. On the other hand I’ll definitely come again again!Cheers!

  44. I am usually to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and preserve checking for new information.

  45. Good blog! I really love how it’s easy on my eyes as well as the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!

  46. I simply desired to thank you so much once more. I am not sure the things I might have used in the absence of the type of secrets discussed by you about my subject matter. It was actually the daunting dilemma for me personally, however , being able to see a new expert mode you processed the issue took me to cry with gladness. Now i am happier for the advice and then wish you realize what a great job your are doing teaching the others with the aid of your webblog. More than likely you have never come across any of us.

  47. I was just looking for this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your web site. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that don’t rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Normally the top websites are full of garbage.

  48. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  49. First of all, allow my family recognize a person’s command during this matter. Even though this is certainly brand new , nevertheless soon after registering your site, this intellect has exploded extensively. Allow all of us to take hold of one’s rss to help keep in touch with at all probable messages Sincere understand but will pass it on to help admirers and my personal are living members

  50. We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

  51. I have been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site. Studying this info So i’m glad to exhibit that I’ve a very good uncanny feeling I came upon just what I needed. I such a lot certainly will make certain to do not put out of your mind this site and provides it a look on a continuing basis.

  52. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  53. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  54. Sources like the one you talked about right here will probably be very useful to me! I will submit a link to this web page on my blog. I am sure my guests will discover that very useful. Large thanks for the useful data i discovered on Domain Information Anyway, in my language, there arent much good supply like this.

  55. Certainly I like your website, however you have to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to inform you. On the other hand I’ll definitely come again again!Cheers!

  56. This domain seems to recieve a good ammount of visitors. How do you get traffic to it? It offers a nice individual spin on things. I guess having something authentic or substantial to give info on is the most important thing.

  57. It is my belief that mesothelioma is actually the most lethal cancer. It has unusual characteristics. The more I actually look at it the harder I am certain it does not respond like a real solid human cancer. In the event mesothelioma is often a rogue virus-like infection, hence there is the probability of developing a vaccine as well as offering vaccination for asbestos exposed people who are at high risk regarding developing foreseeable future asbestos relevant malignancies. Thanks for revealing your ideas for this important health issue.

  58. Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific website.

  59. Thanks for your article. Another point is that to be a photographer will involve not only problems in recording award-winning photographs but in addition hardships in establishing the best digital camera suited to your needs and most especially issues in maintaining the grade of your camera. It is very true and evident for those photographers that are directly into capturing the particular nature’s interesting scenes : the mountains, the particular forests, the actual wild or maybe the seas. Visiting these daring places undoubtedly requires a digicam that can live up to the wild’s severe natural environment.

  60. I as well as my guys were reviewing the best secrets and techniques found on your web page and then at once developed a terrible suspicion I never thanked the web site owner for those secrets. Most of the ladies are actually consequently glad to read all of them and have in effect pretty much been having fun with those things. I appreciate you for genuinely quite thoughtful and for using some magnificent subject areas most people are really desirous to be informed on. Our sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to sooner.

  61. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays..

  62. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.