By Mike Edwards
I admit I am writing this Post as a confession/comfort. Do you ever feel guilty because you don’t have regular prayer times with God, or you often only formally pray when times are tough. Maybe God isn’t offended. Maybe God cares more about the relationship than obligatory “sit downs.” The best kind of human relationships are spontaneous than because of rigid formalities.
God can’t just wave a magic wand
It is important to remember God must account for freedom to be loving. It’s not that we didn’t pray enough with the right words and behaviors so God will answer. God can’t make one’s partner willing to stop drinking without violating their freedom. God can’t interfere in a job matter without impacting all who are interviewing.
What about healing prayers?
A lot of prayers asking for healing are obviously not answered. I doubt God is just being stingy or some beg God better. I doubt miracles are arbitrary. Conditions in our body may not always be right. Various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells, organs, etc. If God wouldn’t take away your human freedom, it may not be a stretch to say God has to account for nature’s freedom as well. Miracles can happen when God’s uncontrolling love aligns with countless factors known and not known. God surely intervenes by all means when circumstances will allow. I am not sure we even have to ask. God is always loving.
Prayer isn’t God waiting to be asked to love
God may wait for our invitation for personal help to be more the person we deep down desire to be, but God is tireless in doing all they can for others — what parents isn’t — but God desperately seeks our help to change the world. God can’t singlehandedly change a free world without our help. But the truth is it can rain on the righteous and the sun can shine on evil in an uncontrolled world (Mt 5:45).
Prayer isn’t more talking but acting
Relax! God is an omnipresent Spirit. God already knows needs before spoken. We don’t have to pray to inform God. Be careful. Don’t let prayer be a substitute for acting. It is easier sometimes to pray for someone than take cooperative actions with God. This is the most common way that God answers prayers — with the help of others. Rather than praying your friend’s partner stop drinking, which is harming their family, see if your friend would rather you say something to their partner. When you know two friends are in conflict, consider speaking to the one wrongly denying any wrongdoing. God longs to help us help others. You don’t have to pray to God to act.
So, what is prayer?
Prayer is more of a relationship than just talk. I’m not more moral than others; maybe I am a more needy-son-of-a gun. I tend to interact with God when writing for my blog, when listening to a spiritual podcast, etc. Now, when I am faced with suffering or a challenge, you better believe I have more formal prayers. Prayer is a relationship with God in whatever way seems more relational to you. God is always listening. God speaks to us mostly through self-reflection as God seeks to empower us to make decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. God speaks when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you. Seek a natural relationship with God in your own way. Conversations don’t have to be formal prayers.
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: email@example.com