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Archive for March, 2012

The Use and Misuse of Prayer

We often think of prayer as asking for something.  For the want of an earthly item, or of an earthly being – be it a male seeking the perfect female or a female seeking the perfect male.  Many people pray for money, while others pray for a new car.  Prayer is used, or misused every day depending on the point of view of the beholder.  Although it is not the place of use humans to judge what others wish for, it is the concept of prayer that has become skewed.

Prayer has been around as long as mankind, probably starting with the prayers of primitive modern man being that of “Please don’t let me get struck by lightning today, sky”.  The initial traces of worship can be found to the brightest thing in the sky – the sung god.  The sun came up and went down every single day, and man soon understood its importance.  Later on of course, other gods would pop up here and there, like the moon and the harvest, and then many smaller deities from tooth decay to hangnails.  By no means are these wrong or right, however the forms of prayer usually were praise for the gods, or calls for protection, or a good harvest – which are needs.

prayer chain book

To pray for a car is a want, just as money is and many other earthly material items.  There is a fine line between need and want – when a poor man prays for a car, he usually needs it for transportation, and will be grateful for even the lowliest of vehicles.  However the middle income man who prays for a car is likely in a mid-life crisis and wants a corvette.  How silly to think that the god you believe in would dare entertain such a frivolous prayer.  The mother who prays for money to feed her children, an often times vital need as many in the U.S. are still without food (the richest nation in the world – but is it truly rich when children still are malnourished?) can be contrasted with the mother that prays for money so that she can impress others with her children’s attire.

The use, and misuse of prayer all in all, is dependant on the belief and on the person, however it can be universally agreed that greedy or frivolous prayers are usually unanswered.  Think about it the next time you pray – are you praying for a want or for a need?  Do you really need a corvette?  Do you really need to win the lotto?  Do you really want that person to be a part of your life forever when you know nothing about them except lustful intents?  If you answered yes to all three of these, you might be having a mid life crisis, which of course God will forgive I am sure – however if you are not… you might reconsider your values and your priorities.  If you did get the corvette, how could you use it to help other people?  Same idea goes for the lottery.  That third one?  Well you are on your own there.

Let’s change pace slightly from the last article.  In this one we will look at what prayer is, and how prayer happens.  Prayer is the idea that you can communicate to a deity or god directly through thought, words, or any other means.  Some ideas for communication involve writing it down on paper and burning it – that the message would be taken up by the smoke, and then of course there is the classic hands clasped together whilst kneeling at an alter.

Well, to be sure, any way you pray is the right way.  Any form you can think of that will get the message out the way you wish to will be heard.  Luckily for you – the pathway to heaven is not a series of tubes, and does not suffer bandwidth problems.  Although it was not invented by Al Gore, it is pretty efficient.  If you want to make God into a technical kind of being, you can consider Him the ultimate internet server that connects directly to every computer (you) with no bandwidth limitation, and a processor that can handle a billion galaxies filled with one hundred trillion different dynamics – in each of those billion galaxies.  If God can handle that – he can handle reading an attachment to an iPrayer.

Any form of prayer is fine, however what is in the prayer is what matters.  When you pray for needs, for absolute needs, whether it is in an accident, in a time of stress, in a time that you yourself can no longer handle the burden… you will find it gets a higher priority than the teenager that wishes for a Ferrari.  When you make that prayer that is pure in intention, that is absolute in its meaning, and full in its urgency, you have a much better chance of seeing an answer come.  It won’t always be what is expected, but there will be an answer.

prayerchain

Now, when people make frivolous prayers, or things that could cause bad karma (yes, karma) it will likely be answered with a sense of somewhat ironic humor.  The man who wishes for his receding hairline to stop receding might lose it all – but get in exchange a hairier back.  The teenager that wants the super car to impress his friends might end up with the Honda tin-can express (however, if he worked for the car and actually earned it through his own money, it is likely that some help or bonuses might be given along the way – like chances to earn more money out of “strange coincidences”).

So, you really shouldn’t think about how you pray, but what you pray for.  It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim, Hindu, Christian, or Jewish.  Prayer is prayer, you can pray how you are taught to, you can pray how you wish, you can pray silently or shout it out in a bullhorn in front of crowds of millions… as long as you pray for the right thing.

March 2012
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