I really don’t understand why people ask for prayer about their car that broke down; about their children who are sick; about interviews they have coming up, and other life events? Okay, I understand. It is just after a lot of reflection, it seems like there is a more honest way to share ones needs that doesn’t portray God as a potential Genie or Jerk.
Is God a stingy Ogre who needs to be anxiously begged or cajoled to increase Her active love in the world?
What would happen if no one prayed about the car, sick children, or interviews? Would God say, “Hmm, well, no one talked to me (prayed) about the broken-down car, sick children, interviews, or grief-stricken family members, so I will not be loving or generous.” Or, “If only they had a prayer chain of 40 people, I would increase my love, heal, and be generous in people’s lives. Since they only had 34 people praying, I am going to refuse to answer anyone’s prayer.”
In sincerity, I am asking what kind of God are we praying to? How is God’s character being portrayed by the prayers that we pray?
Additionally, it seems that asking for prayer is often a defense mechanism to avoid what people really feel and need. Sometimes, I would rather people just be specific and ask their loving community for what they need instead of wrapping it up in a religious cliché.
Instead of writing on Facebook, “My car broke down. I am broke and don’t know what to do. Please pray for me.” I would rather them make explicit what they are really asking, “Hey community! I am freakin out. I need financial assistance. Does anyone have any money they can give me for a new car?”
Instead of writing on Facebook, “My kid is very sick, please pray for them,” perhaps it would be more honest to say, “I am exhausted. I feel scared and helpless. Could you support me through this by writing me a quick encouraging sentence on Facebook?” Or, “Could one of you tell me how you got through a similar issue with your child.” Or, “Could one of you bring me over homemade chicken soup, I have no idea how to make it (nor do I have the time).”
Instead of writing on Facebook, “I have my interview tomorrow, please pray for me,” perhaps one might write, “I am sick to my stomach with anxiety. I am doubting myself and God seems to be silent on my job situation. Can you encourage me and tell me, ‘I can do it!,’ or something like that? Can you remind me that God loves me and has a plan for me because I am really doubting God gives a damn?”
What would it be like to take a risk, not use “Please pray for. . .” and just be honest with how you feel and what is really needed in the situation, and trust God in others to meet those needs?