Problem of Prayer

Have you picked up The Screwtape Letters yet? I hope I have piqued your interest onimages some level. Here’s a questions we’ve all asked…

Does prayer work?

Actually, that aside, do you want prayer to work?

C.S. Lewis makes an insightful case against many of us who engage in prayer for any reason.

Don’t forget to use the “head I win, tails you lose” argument. If the thing he prays for doesn’t happen, then that is one more proof that petitionary prayers don’t work; if it does happen, he will, of course, be able to see some of the physical causes which led up to it, and “therefore it would have happened anyway”, and thus a granted prayer becomes just as good a proof as a denied one that prayers are ineffective.

It has frequently been noted that there are no atheists in fox holes. In other words, in the midst of dire or uncontrollable circumstances, almost anyone, for however brief a moment will resort to belief in God, and will, in sincerest tones, beseech the once blasphemed Creator to HELP!

We saw this happen at 9/11. It happens with every tsunami, hurricane and mass shooting. But then what?

It has also frequently been observed that the very ones who recently cried out to their Creator, just as quickly attribute His response to coincidence.

My husband and I are moving in a couple months. Not having children and not being high maintenance, and knowing that we’ll only live in our new domain for a year, we decided not to travel to GA to pick a house. Instead, after a few days of culling Military By Owner and realtor websites, we settled on one that seemed perfect. Actually, more honestly, we settled on one that I really felt God had “given” us.

When we called the owners, we were informed that there was another couple interested in the property and they were able to move in sooner, thus paying an extra month’s rent. If by chance, this first family fell through, we could rent the home.

How I prayed! “Lord, I really believe you said this is our house. It meets all our needs and it’s in our price range. Father, please allow us to rent this house!

Until the last minute, we waited. No word. I was pretty sure we’d lost our chance and I assumed that I had misheard God. Then, late on the last night, I got an email, “We’re sending the lease for your review. It looks like you’ll be our renters.”

Whew, that was close! And I almost did it. I almost thanked the owner and blessed my lucky starts.

But Father, thank you for knowing exactly what we need and providing it. And thank you even more, that you do speak to me, that you are wiling to speak to my heart even when my faith is weak. Lord, I believe. Take away my unbelief.

Too Much Information

This past week I rode out my first earthquake (5.9) and my first real hurricane. Irene and I are pretty much friends, since she left. Kindly, she didn’t take my electricity or internet or trees or lawn furniture. If you like, you can check out a poem I wrote for her here.  But, she also left me something to ponder:

I often (OK, always) listen to either news radio, Christian music, Janet Parshall,  or a podcast sermon. But, as Irene approached, I upped the ante on news. Incessantly, obsessively, I listened to weather updates and hurricane warnings. I almost felt like I was in greater control if I knew what to expect. It was as if I could keep my lights on or will Irene back to sea if I just knew what to expect. I think I might have cursed the meteorologist if she had been wrong. How dare she lie to me!

I know, really I do, that I had no control whatsoever over Irene’s behavior. For that matter, neither did the weather-woman. Suddenly, it dawned on me (albeit slowly) that Irene was going to do what Irene was going to do whether I knew about it or not! Hurricanes have been attacking coastlines for millennium – long before radios and television broadcasted warnings. And the earthquake! it shook my house and the Washington Monument with no forethought. The only forethought given was God’s.

It seems funny to me, as we think we grow smarter and smarter, that ultimately we are no more powerful. Is God chuckling? In fact, perhaps we were better off before we knew enough to frighten us of everything.

– now that we have defined calories – we worry about eating too many

– now that we measure our education by degrees – we worry that we aren’t smart enough

– now that we have games and computers we spend hours lost in ourselves and outside of relationship

– now that we have so much information, we have too much to do and no time for families

Do you see what I’m saying?

Recently, I read a study that determined that the average adult spends more than 8 hours a day in front of some screen – receiving information. And yet, we know that we are scarcely using the vast capacity of our minds. Made in the image of God – should we re-evaluate what type of information we are consuming?