yesterday i wrote a fairly lengthy treatise on “what is prayer good for?” which was the question of the evening at our house church gathering the other night. apparently, though, my post must have been bordering on heresy, since it somehow got lost on its way to this page. 😉
my friend ken is awesome. he’s funny and super-smart and a bit melancholy. he’s the one who brought up the question in the first place, when he misunderstood the directive to write down a personal question to get to know another person in the group better last week. the poor guy who pulled out that innocent-looking slip of paper just said, “what is prayer good for?!” and seemed to have a near breakdown. we decided to make it a group discussion for this week.
anyway, i love my house church. we’re not convinced we came up with some solid enough answers, so we’re continuing the discussion. please feel free to share any ideas! so far, we touched on theories of linear and non-linear time, with ken proposing that prayer is our stepping out of linear time to join God in the nonlinear. (that’s a loose paraphrase, but i like it!) of course jesus’ statement that “whatever you ask for in my name, you will receive,” sparked some good talk, especially when r said, “but that’s just not true!” so, here’s my question for all of you: what DOES it mean to pray “in jesus’ name”? the idea was presented that if we are truly praying in the name of christ, we are praying in his will. but there have been many times that i’ve prayed deeply for people i love to know God’s presence in a real, tangible way that they can’t deny. and it hasn’t happened. surely, people knowing him is in his will!? and what about the people i know who are actively seeking truth, and asking god to show himself to them, but keep feeling like they’re talking to a brick wall? what’s up wit dat, yo? (um, i have no idea where that sentence just came from!) i have a friend who spent five years trying to have a real relationship with God before he simply gave up, believing that God exists, but really wants little to do with him, and i know damn well that lots of believers were praying for him. that’s the only situation that’s ever really made me yell at God. so.
what is prayer good for?
talk to me.