Just some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing…
There has been a lot of conversation about prayer on social media recently, a lot of it negative. You’ve probably already seen the now famous “God Isn’t Fixing This” headline in the New York Daily News. I suppose we Christians should not be surprised that many of those who do not share our faith might go so far as to ridicule it as worthless. However, I would suggest that part of the problem is that those who would ridicule likely don’t really understand what we mean when we say we will pray. If we think prayer is like using a genie from a bottle then we have horribly misconstrued our relationship with God. He’s the Master, not us.
That is certainly not to imply that there is no power in prayer, there most certainly is. In fact, it is likely much more powerful than we will ever realize.
All of that is to introduce several excellent articles for your weekend reading that respond to some of the “prayer shaming” going on. My hope is that you find them helpful and encouraging…and that you keep praying.
In fact, let’s start with that…
Ignore the pundits and keep praying -Joel Miller
“So, yeah, let’s stop praying. Because that’s pointless—unless, of course, someone is shooting at you.
Despite its self-assurance, the New York Daily News was exactly wrong. (Probably not the first time.) How so? Later this month the church observes the slaughter of the Holy Innocents, that tragic moment in which King Herod responded to the gospel by trying to murder the messiah.
It’s a terrible though often overlooked side of the Christmas story. But the senseless killing, the unspeakable loss, the inconsolable tears connect us across centuries. And those tears have the potential to remind us of where our hope for justice ultimately rests.”
This post by Andy Crouch is thorough and powerful…
On ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ After the San Bernardino Shooting
“To offer prayer in the wake of tragedy is not, except in the most flattened and extreme versions of populist Christianity, to ask God to “fix” anything. It is to hold those who were harmed, and those who harmed, before the mercy of God. In many traditions, it is to recognize that the human person is more than a human body, so that even death itself is not the final word on our destiny—so prayers are appropriate even for the dead, whose lives are held by a Life that transcends death.”
Then there’s this timely reminder from Denny Burk…
Christmas means that God IS fixing this -Denny Burk
“The idea that we have to do what God has failed to do is at best out of step with Christmas and is at worst blasphemous. Christmas is the one time of year that is supposed to remind us that God is fixing this.”
When we resort to “prayer shaming” our society, not just Christian society, loses something important…
“For religious people, of all sorts, prayer is doing something. We do believe that God can intervene, to comfort the hurting and even to energize ourselves and others for right action. For those who don’t believe in the power of prayer, the last thing any of us should want is social pressure to pretend to pray. What we can expect, though, is for neighbors to express in what ever ways they have, “We love one another, and we hurt for one another.”
When that becomes just another culture war battlefield, we’ve lost more than a set of policy proposals. We’ve lost the social cohesion we need to do anything. And social media outrage can’t fix that.”