#GodIsntFixingThis: Why do we pray?

AAfYquP.imgMy first reaction when I saw the following headline on the cover of New York Daily wasn’t outrage (though admittedly, I was surprised) or indignation. The first thought that popped into my head was, Well, maybe this is because many of us have an inaccurate understanding of prayer.

Which isn’t to say that my view is the correct one. But I have a few theories. So far, no Christian I’ve spoken to has been able to answer these questions for me:

If God already has a will, is prayer supposed to change his mind?

Why are we praying for God’s Will to happen if God’s Will will happen regardless?

If God waits on prayer before allowing (or not allowing) certain events to happen, wouldn’t that mean he doesn’t know the future?

My lived experience has taught me (and other notable theologians like CS Lewis and Soren Kieerkegard) that prayer is more about becoming like God and communing with him as opposed to changing our circumstances. I can’t imagine an Almighty God bending time and space (and occasionally laws of nature) to ensure someone gets an up-close parking spot or healing from the flu while scores of people all over the world are suffering inexplicable violence and depravation, but I can imagine God providing the tools with which to make change happen.

Naturally, not all of us agree on the same tools with which to do this, which is why we find ourselves stuck when it comes to gun control. Of course, my biggest question is why God couldn’t answer prayers to prevent shootings from happening in the first place, rather than answering the prayers asking for comfort to the families of the dead. But what would mere humans know about that?

Do you agree or disagree? Why do you pray?

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About Beth Caplin

Just an author, blogger, and editor working hard so my cats can have a better life.
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4 Responses to #GodIsntFixingThis: Why do we pray?

  1. Bones says:

    Btw I agree with your thoughts on prayer.

    I pray to give myself comfort and strength. Whether that’s God or what I don’t know.

    And history shows us that things don’t change without action. No matter how much you pray.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bones says:

    It’s funny that we Aussies don’t have to pray away mass killings.

    We stopped easy access to guns….

    Not much point in praying if you aren’t willing to change…..

    Like

  3. Lydia Thomas says:

    I tend to agree with you – the primary purpose of prayer is to get to know God better. As I’ve prayed, God has shown me what He has created me to be and do, but ultimately, I have a free will (I know some theologians disagree with that concept), and it’s up to me to do it. I don’t believe God twists arms. I believe He intends to use those who know Him (and not just those who use His name – we have to be discerning about that, especially when it comes to things like the Planned Parenthood shooting) to be a positive, life-giving force in this world. Prayer changes me, and through what God gives me during that time, I change my community.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Doug Daniel says:

    My opinion– properly, we pray to be in relationship with God. That’s its primary purpose. If we engage in supplication, it’s because we need to trust God to work his will in our lives, and because we need to acknowledge our dependence on Him. It’s not because God is an ATM.

    All-too-often, though, Christians treat God in exactly that manner. We have a tendency to reduce the Almighty to a good-luck talisman and a dispenser of goodies. In many ways modern American Christianity worships a small, tamed God.

    Prayer fits in to God’s will because he foreknows what we need and what we will ask. We do not change God’s will– we fit ourselves into it, and yes, it’s going to be fulfilled, because, hey, it’s God we’re talking about. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, he is not a twig to be bent.

    As far as terrible events as the San Bernardino massacre go, God expects us to get up off our dead behinds and do our part, to do justice and keep the helpless safe. That’s part of God’s will, too.

    Again, just my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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