showers from heaven

showers from heaven May 9, 2011

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We comfort and entertain ourselves by thinking there is a logical connection between what we pray for and what follows. We’d like to believe we control the consequences of our actions, and that we are the masters of cause and effect. I’ve been in this poor fella’s shoes and found myself saying, “I didn’t ask for this!” Cup runneth over?

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  • Beware what one prays for – my experience is that the Divine answers in a way that will pull the plug on your religious paradigm. Prayer is not a way of topping up one’s religious system.

  • Wendy

    Oh, boy have I been there. It reminds me of my favorite line from the movie “Evan Almighty” when God has told Evan that all the horribly difficult things God is putting Evan through are because God loves him. As the sprinklers turn on, hitting Evan in the face, Evan asks, “Can you love me a little less?”

  • I just don’t pray (read ask G-d for things)anymore. I have good arguments (read conversations / reflections) with G-d on a regular basis and remain thankful at all times for what I do have.

  • MLE

    A few weeks ago I was in a discussion group with a bunch of mostly older church people and the discussion topic was prayer. Everyone was asked to read a quote they were given on prayer and then say something about it if they so chose.

    Everyone else was saying how comforting prayer is, etc. and only citing positive examples of how prayer “works.” “You know, sometimes it seems like God’s not answering a prayer, but then one day, you’ll look back on it, and realize, ‘yeah, that was answered.'”

    When it came to my turn, being the pesky questioner in the group, I said, “I struggle with prayer sometimes. What about the parent of a child who has a totally curable illness, but because they can’t afford to get them treatment, all they can do is pray? They pray, but the child dies anyway. Are they going to look back someday and say, “Woah, I totally get why my child died of that completely curable illness.”

    Someone in the group: Well, we often don’t know God’s ways; why he does what he does.

    Me: Is it really ‘God’s way’ for this to happen? Is this God’s justice and love? Or it is us humans, flagrantly misusing our agency? (This denomination’s big on personal agency.) (Ok, I may not have said, “flagrantly.” :D) Perhaps we are the ones not answering this parent’s prayer.

    They don’t like my questions. *shrug*

    I think we do ourselves a disservice by trying to be, or at least appear, overly confident in our certainty. I think we sometimes don’t question (possibly cheating ourselves our of opportunities to explore our struggles with others) because we don’t want to appear “weak in the faith.”

  • that story MLE is so familiar. i’ve experienced that myself. but then again, i was the pastor.

  • MLE

    Just a note: I don’t want anyone to think I’m an ageist. I don’t know why I mentioned that they’re older. Just stuck out in my mind, I guess. I’ve known some non-pinched, pretty amazing older people in churches, too. Whoo, cool older people!