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  • I ask for nothing

    I was raised by a family and society that expects me to be Christian of some variety. My father expects me to be of the Catholic bent, at one point encouraging "the fat one" to become a nun. Events have occurred since I became an adult which have shaken my hesitant faith into non-existence. However, to say that I am not a Christian is to suggest that I am some other thing, such as a Buddhist or Muslim. The greater truth is that "religion" is no more than a history-based mythology for me.

    Instead I believe in the power of me. Whatever I can do to make our world, our society, our friendship better, I will try. I will recycle, install solar panels and rain barrels, grow my own tomatoes, smile in the face of rudeness, listen to hurt feelings, give comfort and relief, and meet for karaoke in bar even though I neither sing nor imbibe.

    It is human nature to need something to believe in. It is my opinion that belief in oneself should be enough. However, humans are emotional and occasionally weak. A person might require belief in someone or something else in order to believe in themselves.

    For those people, the power of prayer is amazingly beneficial. When one feels helpless, "lifting" ones troubles to a god is like removing a weight off the shoulders. In the case of a dear friend slowly dying of cancer, the prayers of her friends and family not only eases their pain, but helps her feel their love for her and so calms her spirit in the face of death.

    However, some people take this prayer thing a little too far, in my opinion.

    A relation of Mister's often sends out prayer requests. They are as varied as the weather. When her granddaughter was born premature, the prayers were along those lines. Later, they shifted to prayer requests for a safe drive to/from the doctor's office and the like.

    A week or so ago, an in-law passed away. It is my understanding the the lady had lived a long, full life and was much loved. Fantastic. If only I can be so lucky! However, if I judge the requests correctly, this relation's spouse was absolutely devastated and required much praying to make through the week. Really? Am I the only person who celebrates a life well-lived? Why not pray thanks for that? She could have been beset by misfortunes, or like my friend with cancer, painfully wasted away while her small children watched, helpless.

    And now we're being asked to pray for this guy who has worked nearly 40 hours this week, with another 20-30 to go before his working week is done, so that he may have the strength to make it through. How about instead we pray our thanks that he's got a job at all, adding an additional prayer for those who are unemployed and hungry that they might find relief soon?

    Day after day, week after week, this relative posts request after request. The sheer quantity of of requests, all along the lines of gimme-gimme (give me strength, get me there safely, etc) even if for the benefit of others, makes me frown. On the one hand, it is very generous of her to be thinking so much of others. On the other hand, only one request of the dozens so far was a request for thanks to be given.

    Am I being harsh for thinking of this as very selfish and un-Christianly?


    Beav said...


    It is very easy to forget to call for gratitude for something that has gone well. It is hard to count ones blessings when the next obstacle looms closely in view.

    Granted, asking for prayer that I make it to the corner store without being sniped by a random psychopath who has a thing for white Rabbits but hates blue Hondas seems a bit unnecessary; and remembering to be thankful of an income in the current economic situation seems not too difficult.

    Overall, I agree with you. I see many pleas for Divine help; not so many appreciative nods. I can't help but think that 'give thanks unto God' sounds a bit more proper than 'just ask for the Heavenly hookup.'

    Anonymous said...

    Not everyone can be expected or forced to have the same beliefs as everyone else. I find myself asking people for prayers (or good thoughts) quite often because I know that everyone does not have the same beliefs as I do.

    I have been brought up to believe that "something" is better than "nothing", so I choose to believe in God and the fact that He does have creative power over the universe. It is too hard to believe that such complicated things that I can not fathom happen by some complicated chance and make the world what it is.

    On the flip side of the coin, I don't believe that God is some gum-ball machine where you put in a prayer and you always get exactly what you what exactly when you expect it. But I do believe that He is listening and He knows what your true intentions are with your requests and answers accordingly.

    Ultimately it is extremely simple and probably even relaxing to live your life choosing that nothing really matters and to not have a worry in the world. It may take a lot more effort to choose to believe that everything matters. If nothing really matters and you are completely correct, you have lost absolutely nothing. If I am correct and my seemingly delusionional way of living through prayer and believing what the Bible says is true is the real truth then you have lost absolutely everything and I have gained it all. This is a tremendous comfort to me. Just my 2 cents worth!

    Cindy Lu

    Soo Mi said...

    Last night, I posted a comment that does not seem to have made it to the board. It may have been too long. I will attempt to recreate my response as a regular blog post.

    Thanks for your patience.