God Give Me Strength
Prayer and spirituality go hand in hand. With just about any popular religion there are a standard set of prayers for just about every occasion. Are you about to eat? You’d better thank god for the many blessings. Are you about to sleep? You’d better ask god your soul to keep. Are you about to come together to discuss community business? Better say a word of convocation. Are you about to play a football game? Better ask god for victory. Is a family member about to have surgery? Better say a prayer for their safe return. Humans are quick to bust out with a prayer for just about anything and everything that happens in our life.
The way a lot of people tell their story, prayer was the only thing they had in certain desperate situations. How many of us have prayed to pass a test that we may have been ill prepared for in school? How many soldiers have prayed in their foxhole? God, if you help me get this car started I promise to go to church this weekend. Many times prayer is all we’ve got. And then you have people who will credit their success in a particular situation to prayer. God is good and we have to give him all the glory. Halleluiah! God hears all and knows all and he knows what we need. Let us bow our head! God, help me finish this post! Have mercy on me and give me the strength to convey an intelligent message. Have mercy on me!
Prayer has its purpose. It’s very helpful in getting someone the self confidence or the self assurance to help us in our personal endeavors. There is nothing more uplifting than believing the all mighty has got your back when you’re running down a football field with the ball and there are eleven big ass players on the other team who believe god has got their back in their effort to stop you in your tracks. God please don’t let them catch me.
But then the players on the other team are saying their prayers too. God give us the strength to catch that bastard!
And if the other players are lucky enough to catch the little bastard and flatten him into the turf, they’ll want to say a prayer that they didn’t kill the guy. How many times have we heard the announcer encourage the crowd to pray for a player knocked unconscious? Ladies and gentlemen the defense just stopped that running back. Uh, oh! It doesn’t look like he’s getting up. Let’s bow our heads in a word of prayer.
And at the end of the game, when the team didn’t win they’ll have another prayer. Oh god, why didn’t we score that touchdown? But the answer to that is easy. God works in mysterious ways.
Are you angry at god? Let him have it with double barrels. God! Why the hell didn’t you do what I told you to? Are you even listening to me? I specifically asked that you do something for me and you didn’t. What was the point of all that prayer? God works in mysterious ways. It wasn’t god’s will. It is kind of complicated. You would understand if it was god’s will. Since you don’t understand you must not be praying enough. Just send me your tithes and I’ll handle all that prayer for you from my church funded Gulfstream IV with hand stitched ostrich leather seats at thirty five thousand feet.
But the reality is that it is really very simple. God and prayer go together like oil and water. With a little work and a little effort you could get a combination that can work. God will be more than ready to listen to you when you are ready to listen to him. But don’t be fooled into thinking that every time you open your mouth god is waiting at your beck and call. God is a very busy entity. Stop and think how busy the creator of the universe must be if the universe is as large as what we think it is. Last time I heard the known universe is something like several quadrillion light years east and west by a quadrillion light years north and south and another bazillion light years up and down. That’s a lot of galactic real estate that needs to be managed. And he’s ready to stop what he’s doing a megazillion light years away to listen to what one of us have to say.
God, thank you for the meal we are about to eat. I can imagine god’s response now. You stopped me from forming a new galaxy with a cluster of black holes at its nucleus, with a billion solar systems waiting to be born to tell me thanks for dinner? Didn’t you thank me yesterday? Didn’t you thank me this morning? Am I going to have to stop and listen to you every time you eat? If that’s the case maybe you need to stop eating! I’m busy. I don’t mean to be rude but I’m trying to do something over hear. If you truly have something to say I’ll be more than happy to listen. But until then, could you do me a favor and show a little more discretion with the prayer line? It would be very much appreciated. Now, where was I?
More often than not what happens in our lives is a product of human choices, human actions, and series of random events driven by environments and circumstances. God stood above the football field and helped one team defeat the other? Not very likely. More probable is that the oblong football took a favorable jump for one team, an unfavorable jump for the other. God stood over the people trying to cross the bridge on their long walk to Montgomery, Alabama when the police attacked with dogs and fire hoses? Not very likely. The dogs attacked, people saw the dogs attack, and developed sympathy for people who were just trying to demonstrate their resolve for equality in the face of white oppression. God stood over your shoulder and magically imbued the ill prepared test taker with knowledge he or she should have studied for? Not likely. Probably explains why they’re flunking the class.
God isn’t waiting to hear our prayers. If you want to have a conversation with god then learn to be still and clear your mind and learn to listen. It takes a lot more than falling to your knees, saying a few rote words, and going through the traditional motions of prayer. God shouldn’t be taken for granted so easily. Learn to respect who he is and your relationship to him. Humans are not god’s equal and he’s not sitting around waiting for you to give him something to do. I pray that you understand what I’m trying to say. God, did you hear that?