Friday, July 15, 2011

Don't Waste Your Prayers on Me

"I'm praying for you" is the most common closing response I get whenever I share my lack of belief in Christianity or a supreme Being. I don't find it offensive or disturbing, simply pointless. Now I'm sure there are plenty of people praying for me to "see the light" and change my mind but if the prayers haven't worked so far why continue wasting your prayers on me, or any other unbeliever for that matter? I'm not saying prayer is pointless, in fact even as an unbeliever I find prayer and meditation an incredible way to connect oneself with the All, with everyone and everything else. Prayer is the vehicle which cracks open our hearts to reality and teaches us how to love one another through understanding and interconnectedness. Of course, this is my opinion as to how prayer should be utilized and not for one's own personal gain. Praying that your loved ones agree with you, join in with your tribal/religious community, is more for one's own interest than in the interest of the ones you're praying for, your fellow man.

So when I say don't waste your prayers on me I'm not saying stop praying, I'm saying change what you're praying for.
-Instead of praying for someone to turn from their sinful lives, pray for the empathy to cry and suffer with the suffering. In shared suffering comes unending love.
-Instead of praying for situations to go your way, pray for the strength to get through the tough times. Some things may be out of our control but that is why we have each other, to get us through the downs while enjoying the ups.
-Instead of praying for people to turn to God (i.e. accept your belief system), pray for the humility to understand your neighbor.Through understanding comes love.
-Instead of praying for the defeat of your enemies and the destruction of evil, pray for the courage to stand up against injustices.

Prayer only gets us halfway there, we must do our part to answer our own prayers.

On a related note John Shore has an incredible 3 part series on compassion and prayer for those we dislike or consider or "enemy", and the difference between praying for and forgiveness.


Sammy said...

While I do believe in God, I would never pray for an unbeliever to accept my belief system, or any other belief system for that matter. To me, someone's beliefs are not that important. Personally, I don't believe that they are important to God either. What is important to me is a person's actions. Specifically, how that person treats other people. I don't care if you believe your washing machine is all-powerful and commands you to only wear green shirts or else a giant comet will destroy the Earth, as long as you are kind, patient, loving, and forgiving of other people.

It is your actions, not your beliefs, that make you a good person.

Sabio Lantz said...

Well said !

captron52 said...

Great post Sam! As for myself I think the only prayer that amounts to anything is the prayer of just saying thanks!

Eruesso said...

Sorry once again,Don. I'm still clueless why you're unable to post comments on my page. But regardless, here's Don's comment.

No can do once again! Great post! I like you use of "the All". The term "God" often falls short of what I am attempt to describe and also is weighed down with anthropomorphical baggage, which I am actively trying to eliminate. I agree with Capt Ron, most of my prayers at present are ones of thanksgiving. However, I am always open to new ways of viewing prayer.

Ri said...

Much agreed! I have always found the use of prayer to be way off the mark... people treat it as a method to beg for what they want, to throw all their problems at God rather than making any real attempt to solve the issues themselves. And when it is used in this manner towards someone with different (or lack of) beliefs, it comes off as condescending and a way to escape the conversation while maintaining the "upper hand" of somehow being holier.

I get it a lot from my family... they are all hyper Christian and full of fear, and as much as they tried to instill that in me as well it just never stuck.

I have to agree as well that "God" never seems to quite describe that great thing that so many of us believe is out there, somewhere - and for me that is because I suspect that the "gods" of the Bible and of mythology were not the great thing but something else, and that great thing is out there, and indescribable, and unknowable, and far beyond our comprehension or words.

The moment we try to label something, we take away it's greatness and shrink it's meaning to only what we can comprehend.

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