Friday, December 20, 2013

What is the point of prayer?

Help me to the Sun/Son, I'm lookin' everywhere. I'm lookin' to become not the pray-er, but the prayer.

I liked this song the moment I heard it. The title, "I Don't Wanna Pray," sounds controversial but speaks so much spiritual truth. 

When tragedy strikes, the first thing people often say is "I'll pray for you." My favorite minister spoke on this very topic 2 weeks ago: ((to see the sermon, click here)).

Really, if the only thing you do for somebody is "pray for them," you might as well do nothing. Do we as Christians honestly believe that God is a man up in the clouds, waiting to be swayed by our mortal pleas? Like God will cure my friend of cancer if I ask Him to in prayer? Or He will give her energy after chemo if I say a prayer correctly, or multiple times? Or if I pray for peace on Earth, do I expect God to say, "Lindsay Van Meter asked for it, so it is so." Yeah right. How egocentric is that concept?? When somebody loses a loved one, it is natural for us to tell them "You're in my thoughts and prayers." The "thoughts" makes it sound less religion-y and more politically correct. But are we just telling people that because we are at a loss on how to otherwise help?

Like the song, I don't want to be the person praying ((the "pray-er"))...I want to BE the prayer. So, if I'm praying for comfort, I want to BE the comfort. If I'm praying for peace, I want to BE the peace. Currently, I am lifting people up in prayer multiple times a day. To me, this means more than "Dear God, please comfort ((so and so))." 

To me, prayer is the direct connection to Spirit. When I pray, I am reminding MYSELF of my connection to God, which is always there whether or not I acknowledge it. When I pray, I silence everything in this physical realm, and focus on the spiritual realm. I acknowledge my connection to God, and meditate on what spiritual ((or physical!)) gifts I can offer that particular person//cause. 

Long-story-short, PRAYER DOESN'T CHANGE GOD. PRAYER DOESN'T CHANGE THE PERSON I'M PRAYING FOR. PRAYER CHANGES ME.

For example ((and not to say I think I'm so great...I don't, it was just a spiritual thing))... I have a work friend going through chemo right now. I pray for her. I don't think that God is going to change His mind on her outcome based on my prayers. I am reminded of what Jesus would do. It came to me in prayer, that I had a sick day I could donate to her. So I did. That doesn't mean I think I'm so great, or so giving, or so wonderful. It's a physical act that I am capable of doing, and I think that's what Jesus would do. It helped her, and it was an idea given to me by Spirit. That's the power of prayer. 

When I pray, I think about how Jesus would act. I try to do as He would do. Words are just words. Actions mean so much more. Sometimes, we can't act. We only have words. I think the best example here is with natural disasters. I can't afford to go physically help further than in my immediate metroplex. But, I do believe I can pray, and remind myself of the connection I have with Spirit. I can be moved during the prayer to either send money ((if I'm able)), or just be still, quiet, and give my energy to the victims. We are so obsessed with social media and technology, if I take the time to quiet myself and focus on the victims of tragedy, I believe I am giving a piece of energy to them. It might not be much, but it's better than believing I can say a quick "God be with the victims," to cross it off my "To Do List". 

Saying you'll pray for somebody, and then quickly asking God a favor, in my opinion, is not a valuable contribution. Heavily meditating on something matters. And most importantly, DOING something for the person(s) matters most. Being Spirit's hands and feet on this physical realm. 


"Well it's all right to talk, long as you walk it
It's all right to take, long as you give
Some say we forgiven and forgotten all our sins
Either way, I know it's so, that we all will live again
Pardon god and mom, if what I'm sayin' isn't fair
See I'm looking to become, not the pray-er but the prayer
And now I don't want to pray
Nooooo, I don't wanna pray
I don't wanna pray"
-Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

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