By: Kevin Thomas ~Copy Editor~
God doesn’t care about what you want. So, let’s talk about prayer.
Stop praying for things you desire, want or think you need. God won’t intervene. God won’t solve world hunger, God won’t keep your home safe during a tornado— and for Christ’s sake, God won’t help you get an A on an exam. That’s not God’s job, and I sure as hell don’t want God being involved in these things. We were given free will for a reason: to take care of things ourselves and to accept the reality that things happen whether we want them to or not.
I’m reminded of the prayer for serenity every time I think about wanting God to intervene in my life: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom always to tell the difference.”
This prayer doesn’t say a thing about the traffic light turning green so we can make it to work on time. That’s one of the many things that can’t be changed. Thanking God for these things is not worth the time; I’d even go so far as to say that it can even be damaging. If God is to be thanked for all of things that can’t be changed by us free-willed human beings, then why can’t God be blamed for them? Why not blame God for being late to work, failing an exam that wasn’t studied for, a home being destroyed and the existence of world hunger?
Three of those four things can be changed by us, the human beings that God granted free will to. If we keep praying to God to change them, we’re just praying away our ability to choose. It’s up to us to do things about world hunger, it’s up to us to study for exams and it’s up to us to leave on time for work. Yes, sometimes things happen that are out of our control and make us late for work, but those things just need to be accepted.
So, now let’s talk about what there is to be grateful for, which isn’t that a loved one’s cancer went into remission; that probably wasn’t a miracle. It’s about being grateful for the existence of doctors, who were gifted with the knowledge of medicine and the will to learn it so that they can cure diseases, and develop new medicines. We need to stop being grateful for actions and events and start being grateful for people, for the gifts that we all have (gifts that usually aren’t corporeal) and for the life that we have been given to live.
Prayer is about this kind of gratefulness, growing closer to God through meditating upon our position in the universe, understanding the intrinsic goodness inside each one of us that we have from being created in God’s own image, figuring out our free will and finding God in all things. Not by attributing all happenings to God, but by seeing God in everything. God doesn’t want us to follow rules and laws just because we’ve been told to do so; God wouldn’t have given us big brains, capable of critical thinking, if that was the desired goal. It’s through prayer that I believe God wants us to question everything, constantly search for answers so that we can appreciate and attempt to understand this incredible thing that God created for us called “life.” Sometimes there isn’t an answer, or maybe it’s just something that we can’t understand. It’s through prayer like this that we can accept that sometimes life sucks.
When it’s something we ask for in prayer God doesn’t give a shit about what we want. Most of the time, it’s up to us to figure all of that out. That isn’t God’s job. God gave us free will for a reason, and we need to utilize for as long as we’re here on this earth, breathing, wandering, falling in and out of love, wondering and hoping. God cares about our deepest desires out of love for us, not the ephemeral wants of today.
So pray, and don’t pray for anything. Pray to thank for life, for each other, and to have a closer relationship with God.