Sunday, November 18, 2007

One perspective on prayer

I've been reading this book for my book club. There is an interesting statement by a character about his view of prayer. I realize that some of it is contextual for the story, but I thought it was an interesting way of looking at things. Especially the second paragraph.

I got to thinking about how easy my life is compared to Papa’s. Then I started thinking what a strange notion it is that Jesus supposedly got strung up on a cross to save zillions of other people – as if his one life, in exchange for zillions, was some kind of trade. It didn’t make much sense to me really, but what I thought was: What the hell. If that’s how things actually work, why not propose a similar swap—on a much smaller scale of course – to help Papa out. Why not ask God, if He exists, to let me do that for Papa what Jesus supposedly did for everybody on earth. Why not ask to trade some of my good luck for some of Papa’s bad, just to get his life back on track. …

Maybe the reason prayers never get answered is that everybody prays the wrong way, and for the wrong things. People ask God for good things all the time, and never offer anything in return. But if God exists, if He really made the world, and is all –powerful and all-wise and all that, then I figure He made all of the world, including the bad stuff. So if He ‘saw that it was good’, He meant just that. From His point of view, bad stuff must somehow be ‘good’, or at least must serve some of divine purpose. I was trying to give God the benefit of the doubt, don’t you see? …. If God is God, the only sort of prayer that seems to make any sense to me might go something like:

“Hello there, God. I know Thy Will is being done today, as usual, and I think that’s terrific as usual. Of course to me Your Will looks like a crazy mess that getting the rich richer and the poor poorer and the innocent killed and babies stomped and starved and the whole world in danger of being blown up any minute by atom bombs and all. But You know all about me thinking that, since ou made me. So, uh, sorry. And please, go right ahead and do Your Will no matter what I think, even if it kills us. Talk to you tomorrow, Lord! Love, Everett.

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