Praying for the End of Prayer

“Pray for her.”

otter prayer

What a tragic event.  Yet another school shooting and another in Colorado.  Epidemic.  Although we KNOW it isn’t the gun’s fault and certainly has NOTHING to do with MORE and MORE GUNS!

Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about THIS time.

Everyone is asking us to Pray For the young innocent girl who was shot by this violently sick individual.  “Please pray for her.”  We hear it over and over.  “We’re praying for her, her family, the school, the town, the nation, the universe. . .”  Hmm.  I wonder what millions of praying people are praying?

Here’s the thing.  I stopped praying a number of years ago, even while still a Minister (gasp!).  And this current trend to ask everyone to Pray For another person in need is precisely why I ended 40-some years of prayer (yet, honestly, I also quit because there wasn’t anyone listening!).

What is the Purpose of Prayer?  What are the options, the outcomes of praying?

1)  God heals the person.  Hooray, a Miracle!

2)  God does not heal the person.  Sadly, it’s God’s Will.

Either way of course, God wins.  No matter which way this goes, prayer works, right?  

Well, except. . .it doesn’t.

Here’s the thing, again:  Does the God of the Universe need, really require, millions of people pleading, begging for help and healing, in order to act with love and kindness and compassion?  What kind of God is that?  If you say God doesn’t “need” the prayers, then I guess WE need them, right?  But why?  What’s the purpose?  To SHOW how much faith you have?  Wait, why do you need to prove that?  To God?  To the rest of us?  I don’t quite understand.

If you simply want to show that you are “thinking” of the person, fine.  I am too.  But “saying a prayer” for them serves no real purpose that I can see, except to prove something or assure yourself that you have faith.  Seems very circular, doesn’t it?

I used to pray for others all the time.  I was actually pretty good at it!  People told me so.  I really had God’s ear.  Not that many “miracles” happened, but people felt much better after I spent time with them, listening to them and saying some words to God for them.  Ahhhhhhh.  That was the point, maybe?  Time spent.  Listening.  Speaking up for them.  Ahhhhhhh.  Yes, that WAS the point.

So, what if we drop the praying and just DO those things?  Just be WITH people suffering or troubled?  What might happen if we didn’t spend so much time “In Prayer” and spent more time “In Presence with Others”?  I wonder.

(this is related to my longtime question:  what if billions of people spent the time they devote to “worship” and “prayer” and reading their “holy books” to feeding hungry people, building housing or hospitals, ending gun violence. . .you know, practical and truly helpful things?)

I digress. . .or maybe not.

As I have said many times before:  I pray for the end of prayer (I love irony, don’t you?).  Won’t you close your eyes and bow your head open your eyes, raise your head up and join me?

Note:  The young girl died.  Very sad.  And very sad that all our memorials and prayers and talk of God’s love and power distract us from working together as diverse communities to Stop Violence, pass Responsible, sensible Laws and Teach our kids to Think and to handle their anger and illness in a healthier way!

Note 2:  Over the holidays I joined Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly who are working for meaningful gun laws:  Americans for Responsible Solutions.  Take a look.  Prayer will never stop the NRA and the Religion of God and Guns.

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