It’s been a while, but the church I drive by to get in and out of my neighborhood has a sign that I don’t quite understand.
Prayer doesn’t need proof, it needs practice.
I guess that embodies the definition of faith; No need for proof, you just have to believe. But I’m not sure that’s the message they are trying to convey. Maybe it’s because I’m coming at this from a non-religious perspective, but I never really seem to get the point of these messages. I don’t think my mind is tuned the way theirs was when they thought this was a good message.
After contemplating it for a while, I began to ask myself, why does prayer need practice? Can it be done incorrectly? Do we need to go to prayer practice to be coached on the proper way to pray? And if there is no need for proof that it works, how can we tell if we did it wrong?
Maybe they mean the other definition of practice in that we need to pray more often. But should we have a set schedule for prayer? I always thought prayer wasn’t for everything, but for moments of need. Prayer was a deeply personal thing between the individual and God. Telling me I need to pray more often doesn’t make sense. I should pray when I need to, not just for the sake of prayer. If we pray when we don’t really need to, how can God know to separate the wheat from the chaff? Yeah, I know, dumb question…God knows everything…but wait…then I don’t need to pray…shit…I’m confused.
I’ve always thought of prayer as kind of silly anyway. Do we really think God is going to listen to us? Doesn’t he already have a plan that we can’t possibly understand? Why would he change that plan just because we asked him to? In my view, this gets to a deeper question; Do we have free will or is everything predestined? and also, does God care about us as individuals?
I think I’ve made my feelings on the latter subject pretty clear on this site. I don’t believe in a personal God who watches over us and cares about what happens to us. There’s too much crap in this world to think otherwise. As for the free will vs. predestination question, that’s a bit tougher to answer. I like to think there is free will. If not, then according to the Christian faith in which I was raised, God created me to not believe in him, which means I’m going to burn in hell for all eternity. That would be a pretty crappy God to create me this way knowing I can’t change it and that his plan for me is to suffer forever in a hell he created. So hopefully there is free will so it will be my fault for suffering for all eternity, but then I probably messed up God’s plan, or that was God’s plan. Shit, I’m confused again.
Anyway, here’s a video about free will that is pretty entertaining and if anyone can help me understand what they’re trying to convey with that sign, I would appreciate it.