Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I've been getting up early this week because Eldest is in the midst of final exams, and I promised to pray for her. I suppose that might hint of asking to win a football game or battle -- whose side is God on? -- but I've simply asked that she have a clear head and a calm heart. No magic answers, no miraculous influx of knowledge. Just the ability to use what she knows.

I'm not fond of the view of God as a magician, who waves His magic wand and makes problems go away. Nor do I care for the image of God as Santa, someone grants every deep-seated wish if you're good. And don't get me started on God as Superman, the hero who will swoop in to avert danger and bosh the bad guys.

If God is really God, He can do anything a magician or Santa or Superman can do, and then some. To limit Him to being an ace-in-the-hole supernatural lackey whose job is to make my world comfy seems a bit ridiculous: someone who created 400,000 different kinds of beetles and 170 billion galaxies almost certainly has a far more sophisticated understanding of what's really needed in any given situation than I do. That doesn't mean I am insignificant, or that my needs don't matter. It means that my personal view of what's important/tragic/needed won't consistently map up correctly with the bigger picture. 'No' is always a legitimate answer, even if I don't see why, and even if I don't like it.

So I don't think the main point of prayer is to persuade God to come over to my point of view. If there's persuading to be done, it's quite likely I'm the one needs to shift positions. Prayer is about articulating, as best I can, a yearning of the heart, and directing and offering it to someone who can either do something about it or who can change my perspective. There's only one way to start that process: with communication. Which is why I pray.

P.S. Eldest texted to say she's done! She's coming home tomorrow.


  1. I so enjoy your writings in Daily Guideposts and am glad to see you use your blog as a voice for faith. Keep up the good work!

  2. I grew up with the impression that prayer was a time to offer up your wish list to God and that my wishes were surely valid most of the time. No one talked much about the larger, 170 million galaxy picture that I was a part of and why no might be a legitimate answer that I might never understand. It surely would have been helpful to hear something like this back then, alas it's not too late....I find this thought helpful now, and thank you for posting it.