WHY PRAY?

We’ve all seen the headline: GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.

I don’t usually chime in on political issues, because, well, I’ll be the first to say I’m daft when it comes to them.  I’ve seen attacks against Christians countless times.  Some of them, I hate to say, are well founded and some of them sting a bit, but I get over it.  I don’t know why this one stood out for me so much.

I think perhaps because it brings up a good point.  Why pray?

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When there are beheadings across the world, why pray?  Do you think your prayers can actually impact the families of the survivors?  When people are starving in South Sudan, why pray?  Will your prayer provide a meal for  Keji Cezerina and her eight children?  When there is a tragic shooting in San Bernardino, what good will your prayers do?

 

I’m currently going through an Advent study.  This is my first year to do so and I’m really enjoying it.  Advent is the four weeks leading up to Christmas.  It’s a time for prayer, reflection and anticipation for the celebration of the birth of Christ.

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Christ’s birth really is a crazy idea.  It hits me every now and then how spectacular the story is.  A …virgin… gives birth to this helpless, crying, needing to be fed and taken care of child.  This child is 100% human and 100% God.  He comes in the most lowly state so that He can relate to us.  He lives a perfect life, yes.  But he lived.  He hung out with a whole bunch of guys.  He traveled the country.  He laughed.  I wonder if he was funny?  He told stories.  He lived a life then submitted himself to die on a cross to save us.  Yall!  That story is unbelievable.  If you believe this then you are believing in something that is beyond comprehension.

So it doesn’t surprise me too much when there are news headlines attacking this belief system.

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Which brings me back.  Why pray?  In regards to the article, I think prayer and gun control are two separate issues.  But what is so fundamental about prayer that it had countless people responding to the tragedy with their desire to do so?

When tragic things happen, I believe there is a moment we realize we’re not in control.  There are those that fight, bare fisted, to gain back control.  And there are those that pray.

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I’m not saying we need to just sit around in rooms all the time, with heads bowed, and ignore the world outside.  But there is something freeing in realizing there is a power higher than you.  You don’t have to carry the weight of the world.  You don’t have to struggle alone.

When circumstances are overwhelming, when the bills are struggling to be paid, when the anxiety is debilitating, when it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning, you can pray ceaselessly to a God who will never tire of listening.  How comforting is that?  No request goes unheard.  No fear is too much.  Hope is found.  Grace is given.

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Why pray?  Because we can hope in the fact that God is indeed fixing this. He has redeemed each one of us.  With each prayer we are drawing nearer to him and learning more of his will for our lives.  And that is impacting others.  We can hope in the fact that one day, all will be redeemed.  All will be new.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined.”  Isaiah 9:2

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7 thoughts on “WHY PRAY?

  1. Ellen! As always, your blog posts are so, so lovely. For me, the insistently public rejection of prayer has always seemed sanctimonious or judgementally aggressive. I grew up religious and prayed all the time as a child, and while I no longer consider myself to be religious, I definitely find that the time I took to pray, on a personal level, was incredibly important (and continues on a different level for me now). I feel as though it gives people the permission to be more vulnerable and honest – as well as stronger – than we almost ever allow ourselves to be – and from that, I think, stems very real change, both on a personal and on a societal level. The debate over whether or not prayer “works” or actually changes awful forces in the world I think is a tedious one – people should be encouraged to be reflective and connected to something larger than themselves. Let’s hold people up for not wanting to be selfish, instead of attacking them for it. Additionally, I found it incredibly bizarre that people assume that just because someone wants to be connected to the world through prayer that they are not acting to change it in other ways. I still vividly remember an interview I had with a woman who had survived the Rwandan genocide. She had seen her parents and her siblings murdered in front of her while she was hiding, and she then spent months hiding in her neighbor’s bathroom. She said the only way she managed to get through those months – and the unimaginably hard times that followed – was through prayer. So, again, I just feel like it’s so crucial for all of us to take a step back and try to be a little better, a little more understanding, a little more empathetic. We’re all just humans, trying to make sense of the world and live in it the least painful way we can. I believe that we’re all much more alike than we seem to believe – messy and disjointed and funny and arrogant and beautiful and strong and hopeful. Let’s allow ourselves to be flawed – and to support one another when we try to fill the holes that life inevitably digs. Um……so ok I totally didn’t mean to write an insane novel. To everyone else reading this, I’m not usually the crazy internet commenter! (Insert one million watermelon emojis here)

    1. Anna!!! I love love love this. I couls write a whole post just from your comment!! I wish I could express myself as beautifully as you do.. And wow, that story of the Rwandan woman.. Just wow. I think prayer does tap in to so many core needs. But you’re right, if it doesn’t lead us to be a little more empathetic and understanding then I think it can be a waste of time. And I love love what you said, “Let’s allow ourselves to be flawed – and to support one another when we try to fill the holes that life inevitably digs..” We all have a story, we all have our mess. I think that’s why the article hit me so much. Because it was so divisive on such a core issue. Oh well :) thank you so much for your awesome watermelon filled comment :)

      1. <3 <3 <3!!!! Thank YOU for all of your amazingness – you make this world a better place. Sending heaps and heaps of love your way!

  2. Absolutely beautiful and very well written as always. Your posts inspire me and encourage more thought and prayer on some tough and challenging , and sometimes lighthearted, topics. I am grateful for you and proud to call you friend. Xo

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