Prayer: Why do it Anyway?
The subject of prayer has been widely debated over the years. We’ve discussed this topic on several occasions including Simen’s What’s the Point with Prayer?, MysteryOfIniquity’s Prayer: Communion with yourself, and LeoPardus’ Praying my way to losing faith.
Slapdash recently made this comment on one of our posts:
For me, the issue of (unanswered) prayer was the first, primary, and most important thing that unraveled my faith.
Christianity is completely schizophrenic when it comes to prayer. On the one hand you have loads of scriptures inviting us to pray – to pray about everything, to pray without ceasing, to pray boldly, to pray specifically, to pray with the faith of a mustard seed – and our prayers will be answered.
On the other hand, based as far as I can tell only on the Lord’s prayer, Christians insist that you add “not my will be done, but yours” to every prayer, thus effectively giving God an ‘out’ any and every time your original desire doesn’t come to pass.
Therefore Christians can always claim that God answered their prayer – just sometimes not in the way they wanted! heh heh, God’s so much wiser, he didn’t give me any of the jobs I prayed for, instead he had me on unemployment for five months so I could learn more reliance on him. Praise God for answering prayer!!!
The more sophisticated Christians I’ve known have started saying that prayer is primarily a discipline for our own edification/learning – prayer’s not for God, it’s for us, and the outcomes of our prayers are much less important than the fact that it brings us into communion with God.
That’s an elegant way to explain away the many scriptures in the new testament that command us to pray, and promise that we can move mountains if we do.
The chorus to Martina McBride’s hit single “Anyway” states:
God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good
And when I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
My question is why?
– The de-Convert