Sunday, September 6, 2009

Three's A Crowd

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. 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 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.


  1. Like I said...a minister. You really have a gift for speaking about religion in one of the most reasoned ways I've ever encountered and you can certainly weave a prayer.

    You need to be a minister. It's only a prt time job, you can still so your other stuff. Nuff said.

  2. How about this: If we got anything we prayed for, what would happen if someone prayed "I want to be God."?

  3. I'm a seizure mommy friend of Ken's...which is how I tumbled over here. To read your beautifully delivered post which wrapped up so many of the thoughts tumbling around my own words that are understandable! I just have a hard time of spitting them out so rationally and well said. I usually blame it on the emotional girl factor. :)

    Thank you...a beautiful link-able post...


  4. At the most difficult moments in my life,at the very depth of my brokenness,it has been through the unwavering faith of my very own children,that I have been able to pick myself up and move forward.Especially rallied by the one who has no words.Along with that, has come the example I watched daily on the oncology floor over the last 9 months.The 10 year old boy,when asked by his mother to pray for a little girl who had just passed away and his reply"Why mom?She is already in Heaven and she is praying for us."Thank you for this post.It was beautiful.

  5. Ken: But ministers have to practice what they preach...not sure I could attain that.

    Jay: Yup, that might cause a few problems (unless I prayed it first). I also thought about those who pray to end their life in a moment of grief...

    baby trevor's mommy & Heather: Thank you very much for the very kind compliments. The support of the seizure community and others, that I have witnessed through following Ken's blog has been life changing for me. The struggles and triumphs of the parents and kids make it very difficult to "cry over my every day spilt milk" so to speak. Bless you both, and especially bless your precious kids!

  6. Lovely post.......very well said. I like your "crowds". I too have fallen into many of them over the years, and have been in far too many of them during the last two, while my daughter has battled cancer and epilepsy. It sure would be easier if I could just ask....and it would be done. Despite the suffering I've seen my own child endure, I have already seen so many things on our journey that show me the presence of God in our lives and all around us.

    You seem to be doing a good job showing Ken the presence of God in his life right now. Excellent work.

  7. Thank you Liz. Only He could give the grace you describe; to see Him in the midst of suffering. That is a great gift. Prayers for your child.

  8. See? Look at you, ministering yer ass off.

    Ya got it in ya...DO IT.