I’ve been having a series of back and forth tweets with Christians on prayer. I was struck by how many contradictions people who believe in intercessionary prayer are able to turn a blind eye to.
For example, the belief that God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent means that He is always going to do whatever He feels is in your benefit and that, as a person of faith in Him, despite that these ways might not immediately seem to be stacked in your favour, you should accept that He knows what is best and accept whatever is thrown at you, safe in the knowledge that the big guy is taking care of it.
Praying that He change these meticulously planned events in your life, just at the moment your puny brain realises you’re being screwed, seems like an awful lack of faith to me. It’s tantamount to politely reminding God that He’s been standing on your foot for the last 20 years, without wanting to sound ungrateful for the reinforced shoes.
Prayer also seems to assume that God is absentminded, with regard to events in your life which are important to you. The idea that He will somehow forget what you want in your life, during that important job interview, flat out contradicts the idea that He, “knows every hair on your head”.
Of course, a good test of prayer would be for the believer to try not praying at all, previous to an important event and then see if it turns out exactly as they would have hoped it would, regardless. Of course this too would be interpreted as His guiding influence, no matter what the outcome, such is the hermetically sealed faith in faith which we’ve talked about at length elsewhere on this blog–but I struggle to think of a better way to demonstrate to someone who is caught within this kind of non-thinking, just how close minded they have become, while believing they are acting in the complete opposite.
There’s no polite way to say this, but the objectivity which would be necessary for the believer to truly view their own spirituality as the misnomer for intuitive superstition that it is, is asking a little too much of the average Christian, but only in the same way it would be difficult to be confident of your results were you to ask for the same separation between influence and inspiration of an artist, or the difference between drive and passion in an athlete, for example.
These are merely labels we give to emotions; facets of our personality where the line of demarkation is our ego and our protective self interest. Prayer seems to float above these projections of our inner cinema, like a conduit between the projectionist and the actors in the movie. Prayer is the illusion of being in control of something for which there is, in reality, no control whatsoever, despite a wish so strong that this were not the case, that this very disconnectedness between our ego and the outside world, becomes an article of faith by which the believer reinforces their biases towards what is, in fact, a completely unrealistic set of expectations.
EDIT: I made a short animation on this topic. I’m teaching myself Motion 3D