I been hearing a lot this week about people offering their prayers for the people involved in the horrible tragedy in the Orlando shooting. This got me to do some more thinking about prayers and their use in religions today.
As I go through my journey of de-converting from Christianity, I have been thinking about prayer and what are the reasons for even praying at all. I grew up with a Calvinist Protestant form of Christianity. The most common answer given for unanswered prayer that I remember is that it wasn't God's will.
Type in google why prayers are unanswered and hundreds of websites will pop up. Here are a few of the things I found:
One site says there are 4 categories of reasons for unanswered prayers
These categories form the basis for these reasons:
- you are not asking God in the first place but trying to obtain it by quarreling.
- you Ask wrongly e.g for worldly pleasures.
- you treat your wife in an inconsiderate manner.
- you are doing evil
- you have a flippant attitude to holy things.
- you are hypocritical and attention-seeking.
- you are using vain repetition (e.g. like Buddhist prayer wheels etc).
- your lack of unity especially among Christian leaders.
- you lack of persistence
- you need to fasting in some situations
- you have spiritual pride
- you have wrath/anger
- it's not according to God's will (God's broad moral will is meant here)
- you live an erratic life that seldom "abides" in God.
- you are not asking "in Jesus name" i.e asking in the will and clear purposes of Jesus and with his designated authority.
- you do not believe in Jesus.
Wait, here are some more:
- you don't see that it's not God's will
- you have the wrong motives
- you are rebellious
- you are living in sin
- you do not have fellowship with the Lord
- you have a non-existent prayer life
- God could be protecting you from danger that you don't see coming
- you doubt God
- you need to learn humility so God didn't answer
- you pray hypocritical prayers to get attention
- sometimes God says 'no' or 'not yet' to bring greater glory to himself
- God is making you trust in him more
- God is in control
- you didn't ask
- you are not seeking to please God
- you have wavering faith
- you misunderstand your faith
- you're not ready
- the answer will hurt you
- you don't see that heaven is better
- you are not praying the right way
- you are too greedy; be more thankful
- your prayers are too small; don't be petty
- your prayers are too vague; be more specific
- your prayers are too public; pray in secret
- you don't spend enough time in prayer
- you are impatient
- your prayers are already answered; you just don't know it yet
- you are not reading the Bible enough
- your prayers are too long
- your prayers are too short
- you are holding a grudge against someone
- you have a lack of praise, thankfulness and love
- you fail to resist Satan
- you pray to other gods
- you refuse to do your part
- you are stingy in your giving
- you believe God is obligated to answer yes
- you have a lack of time
- you have bad family relationship
-These came from globalchristians dot org, biblereasons dot com, victorious dot org, cbn dot com,
crossmap dot com graceambassadors dot com ( I'm not giving them free back links to their websites!)
Had enough yet? I could find a million more reasons God doesn't answer our prayers or says 'no'.
I hope I didn't repeat any, but have you noticed a pattern??
It's all about YOU and what YOU need to do! You don't do this, you don't do that. You don't believe this, you don't believe that. You do this, not that.
The Grace Ambassadors page says this about why it's all about you:
"Notice most of the reasons start with ‘You’. When the prayer promises were given to Israel it was with covenantal strings attached. If they behaved, then God would bless them (and answer their prayer)."
Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but it seems to me that people (Christians) can come up with a gazillion reasons why prayer is not answered. And the underlying theme to almost all of their reasons is this: You need to do or not do something better or less, and then your prayers should be answered. It's all about behavior, rules, and faith!
So there you have it. You are the main reason your prayers are not answered. I tend to use a common sense approach to life and that is one reason that I have gone done this path of leaving Christianity. All of this doesn't make sense to me. God is supposed to be the supreme being who created the world and us. It this is so, is there anything that I can do as a human being to pacify this deity or gain his favor?
According to these reasons in the list, I guess there is. It appears that WE are in control of our own destiny in prayers. Behave and you will get it!
I do believe that we are in control of our own destiny, fate, future (whatever you want to call it) for the most part. Obviously things happen to us because of other people's actions, as it did in Orlando. But overall, we do control what happens to us. For example, you can choose to live like a hermit or a monk, and never leave your house, if you choose to have one. You can try to avoid other people and not be affected by their actions. This only works if you live on an island somewhere with no neighbors, cities, religions or countries to impose their desires on your life.
This is just one of my problems with Christianity. Follow the rules, believe and have faith and you will be fine. Don't, and you are destined to eternal damnation in a pit of fire with all your friends. Because the only ones who get everlasting happiness in a magical place called heaven, are those who behave and follow the rules.
BUT, what are the rules and who makes them???
I will tackle that at another time!