Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Does prayer work?

I approach this question differently now than I would have before. When I was in the business of dispensing religious goods and services, I would have taken a defensive stance that had no doubt been influenced by a Western, scientific point of view. I walk a different path now.

Asking if something works, one needs to be aware if the presuppositions are coming from a mechanical bias. Similar to purchasing a car, the buyer wants to know if all the features do what they are supposed to do. Does the engine run? Does the AC cool? Will the transmission shift? All these questions are fair and reasonable.

But a relationship with an automobile is different than one with a living, dynamic, organic being. And I believe we have melded the two ideas together so that there is no division any more.

Our culture has blurred our distinctions of mechanism and relationship. Marriage is a prime example. The current version not cutting it for you? Trade the old partner in for a new sportier model. Take the shiny one out for a sex drive and put it through all the gears. I don’t know; this one’s just not working for me.

What person wants to be treated that way? Certainly not the one to which I am married.

Relationships are not products to be purchased or commodities to be exchanged. I don’t buy low and sell high. The same rules do not apply

So if I want to know if prayer works, I need to first honestly determine whether or not I am buying it as a product. If the merchandise of prayer is not getting me what I want, I should be allowed to trade it in or take it back for a refund, shouldn’t I? According to that line of logic, I say absolutely. But this is where one must take account of a fundamental paradigm.

Our quest for answers and resolution has jeopardized our ability to adequately understand the Divine. God as a Person will be comprehended differently than God as a Brand.


Barry said...

You've made a very good point here. I was always taught that "Prayer changes things". That patently isn't true - GOD changes things, on his own terms and when he wants to, not on demand from us.

Tyler. said...

Our quest for answers and resolution has jeopardized our ability to adequately understand the Divine.

I ought to tattoo that across my forehead.