Monday, May 15, 2006

Why Bother God With Prayer?

caliibre said in commenting on my post A PRAYER FOR MY SON, why bother? Does prayer help?

I read his blog, and he wrote a very interesting post on prayer. At one point he referred to people of prayer as "God Botherers."

I find that to be a wonderful phrase -- wonderful in the sense that I find myself considering and meditating and pondering those two words -- God Botherers.

Images flash through my mind.

Selfish prayers for new cars and comfort.

Passionate prayers for guidance.

Unselfish prayers for others.

Trivial prayers that trivialize God -- "Dear Lord, help me find my keys."

I think of God hearing our prayers, and I ponder that phrase, "God Botherer." I picture God looking like W. C. Fields responding to prayer with Field's famous comment, "Go away kid, you bother me."

Someone once said that our prayers often reduce God to be nothing more than a cosmic bellhop who is neither very bright, nor very reliable (search the Internet and see how many different people get credit for that quote).

I suspect God may be bothered by some of our prayers.

So back to caliibre and his question, "Why bother? Does prayer help?"

I believe that while God may be bothered by some prayers, He delights in others.

Does it help? I don't care. I'm not trying to give orders to God. He is not acosmic bell hop, nor is he Barbara Eden who comes rising from the Jennie's bottle saying, "Yes Master." He's the Master and He can do as He desires.

I pray not to get my way, but to move my spirit into the way of God.


Anonymous Andrew Shih said...

Sometimes I get a sense that God is listening and sometimes I don't. I think this may have something to do with whether or not I'm being sincere in my prayer, as well as whether or not what I'm praying for is according to His will. But to give a more tangible answer, if our prayer hangs off of one of the lines from the Lord's prayer, it's probably legit, but we also have to remember to not disproportionately make one type of prayer over another (i.e. give me what I need prayers but no please forgive me prayers).

1:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey. Still reading. I notice you're in Florida and might know something about a church I'm talking with. Can I email you off the record?

Shoot me a message at tigerlilydaffodil at yahoo dot com

10:01 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

After the most recent studies showing no discernable difference between patients prayed for and those who faced their situation unaided by the divine, I returned to the same confusion. Does prayer change things or does it only change me (as if changing me is some little achievement)?
I've never had good answers to the prayer paradoxes. ("If God already knows...", "Does God change His mind...", etc.) This link connects to a Philip Yancey article for Christianity Today that speaks to these questions.
At some level, there's a nourishing quality to prayer. I think we look at prayer the way Popeye looked at Spinach - as if the right food at the right time will give us a burst of super-human strength. Instead, perhaps prayer is our bread. Eating it sustains us, allowing us to function and to carry through with our labors. I question the theology of prayer most when I'm either gorging myself or refusing to eat.
In a sense, prayer is like evangelism. We pray because it is filled with promise (though God could do it all without us), and because we are told to do so. That's not terribly satisfying, but neither is the "Go therefore" or "Wait here" or other frustrations of being the created being.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Angelique said...

I always felt bad for praying only in times of trajedy or need. The last time I prayed it was for all those souls in the Twin Towers and the planes that were killed or injured and for the victims of Katrina. I don't usually pray for myself but for those I feel that really need it. But I don't know how good those prayers are since I am not a very religious person but someone that has an idea.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Bj said...

Brother John-just wanted to let you know that I linked to you today on my post. Thanks for making think.

6:51 AM  

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