Tonight we as a family will say our prayers; as we have done every single night since before Dora Diane was born, Her Mommy and I will kneel by her bed, she will squirm and fidget and I will start: "Now I lay me down to sleep..."
That's how my Mom always did it. Then we would do "God bless ______, God bless _____, etc..." It's important to me that I start that way, though there are some who frown on "programmed prayer" or prayers that are the same every day. We move on from there though; praying for him or her, this or that, etc. Each of us take our turns and Dora closes it out, always signaling the time to say "In Jesus name..." in unison by making her incredibly unique and, I believe noteworthy final prayer that I hope some day will sell some books when I expound upon it so I'm not going to share it here since SO many people read this blog that it might be borrowed......
I know Dora Diane believes that I believe that God listens, hears and acts upon those prayers. Unfettered by adult skepticism born of "unanswered" prayers, humanistic indoctrination, etc...she has no doubt that if Daddy prays it, it will be done...if God decides to do it.
I do too. And therein lies the reason for so much doubt and disbelief in the world; that last little disclaimer..."If God decides to do it." Imagine if God actually answered all the prayers of the faithful. Who would dare to disbelieve?
Joe Johnson's car breaks down by the side of the road. He prays, "Dear God, please let my car start"...and it starts. Sally has a horrible headache and prays, "Dear God, please let my headache be gone." and it goes away. Fred's mother is diagnosed with H1N1 flu, ends up in the hospital and all of a sudden, someone realizes that they forgot to pray, says a quick fervent prayer and, Mom sits up, smiles, and says it's time to go home.
If it worked that way, the way most of us probably secretly believe we would run it if we were God, hospitals would not exist. There would be no need for heart transplants or chemotherapy. No cancer, no hemophilia, no blindness, no hearing problems, no tumors, no need for hospitalization for baby delivery because there would be no birth complications...
And there would be no crime. No murders, muggings, no abductions, no theft; prisons would not exist, rehab would be a thing of the past. For, if there was a crime, the victim would pray that it not happen, and it would be thwarted, then the criminal would notice the miraculous thwarting and give up a life of crime in favor of praying for a job, which he would get.
And his job would be a "good" job with a nice boss who lets him take as much vacation time as possible, which would be ok because the job would be really easy because no one would really have problems. I doubt we would really need banks, because no one would need loans because everyone would have plenty of money. In fact, everyone would win the lottery...but there would really be no lottery because no one would be attracted to it in the first place because no one would suffer from a feeling of want.
This would equalize everyone. If Steve makes $500,000 a year then I don't think, if I could pray for what I want, that I would really settle for less. We would all make $500,000 a year...unless we needed more for a big LCD HD TV...which I would.
But...it doesn't work that way. God is God, not me.
There begins the problem.
Why doesn't it work that way? Impracticality aside, why don't "good" people live easier lives than "bad" people? Is healing a person of a disease really more difficult or more impractical than creating that person in the first place? When Jesus was physically on earth, he did a lot of amazing things. Including healing and raising from the dead....so we know it is possible.
I think it is interesting to note how many different ways great thinkers have worked to reconcile the problem of believing in an all powerful, all knowing, all good God in a world with wars, poverty, famine, plague, murder, disease, and computer crashes.
1) The "If you are suffering it is because the Lord is punishing/testing/tempering you crowd.
2) The "If you pray and it doesn't happen then you don't have enough faith" crowd.
3) The "Suffering is important and necessary for growth" crowd.
4) The "Suffering is really blessing because God gives the suffering so you can avoid worse suffering down the line" crowd.
5) The "God is good, and God is all knowing, He just isn't all powerful" crowd.
6) The "Suffering is allowed so that through it God may be glorified" crowd.
7) The "Prayer is not for God anyway, it is for me...God already knows what we want - and need" crowd.
8) The "Because there the bad stuff exists in the world, there can not be a God" crowd.
9) The "The bad stuff comes from the Satan, who is prince of this world." crowd.
10) The "I don't know but let's not talk about this because it may cause some suffering" crowd.
(Forgive me if I left out a crowd.)
Now by no means do I mean any disrespect by calling people crowds...I have been and am a member of several of those crowds myself. I'd like to talk more about it in another post.
For now, I will keep praying and I will marvel at my little girls prayers. Her faith "like a child" is certainly beautiful.