Sunday, December 5

Prayer: A Gift or a Threat?

It has been brought to my attention that there are quite a few people out there praying for my salvation.  The person who informed me of this development (since I posted about my reneging on my salvation) was entirely well-meaning: he wanted me to to know that others care about me and have me in their thoughts.  To be honest, my feelings are actually quite ambivalent.  I did feel, at first, fairly amazed that so many people had read the post and have been praying for me for so long. 

As I thought about it more, though, it highlighted a few things that I find frustrating about Christianity.  I have a fairly complex relationship with prayer
1. Very few of these people have actually contacted me directly.  This isn't a call for them to start calling me all of a sudden but I find it interesting that people who rarely spoke to me when I was a "christian" were suddenly so concerned.  Prayer seems fairly empty without action to back it up (please don't send me tracts in the mail).  This is a general statement about prayer.  Are you going to ask god to feed hungry children or go feed one?*
2. They are praying for something for me that I don't want for myself.  Something I strongly do not want.  To me, for someone to ask that I return to the flock it is like them routinely wishing I would be eaten by a lion or plummet from a tall structure or be stung hundreds of times by killer bees.  The assumption with these prayers, too, is that they know what is best for me, better than I know (regardless of how little they know me). 

Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that prayer has power**, in my mind it is the equivalent to intense thought (or not-so-intense-thought for many people).  On this premise I cannot control what others choose to think nor would I have any right to ask them not to think.  But, would you really trust or want to spend much time with someone you knew was routinely picturing you drowning in a fast-moving stream or touching an open electrical wire?  This probably sounds dramatic but I wonder how a Christian would react if I told them that I spend time in intense thought every day imagining (and wishing) that they would lose their faith. 

This post is not meant to demean prayer or to hurt feelings.  It is meant to illustrate that prayer can be somewhat creepy and that not everyone sees it in the same way, even though one may have (what they think are) the best intentions.

*I am in no way insinuating that I have this all figured out either.  Am I constantly trying to make the world a better place?  No.  I need to work on that.
**In the spirit of honesty I do 'let' people pray for me.  Ok ok, I have even asked a select few to do so in recent months.  But it has always been from people I trust, who know me well and who have really been supportive.


Silas said...

thanks for the thoughts, katie! it helps to get a glimpse into your viewpoint. and in addition the way you write about it so well also helps.

Katie V. said...

Silas! Hope all is well. I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on it. Maybe I took it too far with the "open electrical wire". Feel free to disagree with me.