By Rachel Birdsell
Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been thinking about prayer. Not that I’m thinking about trying it, because I’ve done that and it never really worked out for me. Maybe that’s why I’ve been wondering why people pray and why they pray for the things they do. I can kind of see praying for your son to not have leukemia when you take him in for some tests because his white blood cell count is high. But I know people who will pray for a parking space and then when they find one, give God the credit. These same people don’t ever thumb their noses at God when they have to park on the very last row in the parking lot, though.
How do some people come to the conclusion that this great all-powerful being who can pretty much do whatever he wants, cares enough about their parking space that he’ll clear one out for them front row, dead center of the entrance? I mean, maybe he does, but if he cares about something that stupid, why doesn’t he care about people who are dying? It seems that either God is either petty or rather cruel. And when someone does make a recovery from an illness or accident, someone will inevitably praise God for healing them. Call me crazy, but I’d prefer it if God had prevented the illness or accident to begin with. Maybe he was too busy helping some woman in Mobile, Ala., find a parking place at the Piggly Wiggly.
When you ask people why God cares more about helping people with mundane, idiotic things than healing cancer patients, they tend to mumble something about him working in mysterious ways and that we can’t hope to understand his plan. Sorry, people, but his plan sounds pretty shitty. I’d much rather have an omnipotent being who cared about keeping people from being in pain rather than whether or not I find the lost television remote.
So, what really happens when people pray? I don’t think there’s anything taking place except for in the mind of the person doing the praying. I’m sure it gives them some kind of peace, which is good. Unfortunately, I think it also makes them feel like a special snowflake, because if the God of the entire universe is helping them remember where they stashed the last Ding Dong, it must be because they’re so special, right? You don’t see God helping a heathen figure out where they hid their Ding Dongs, do you?
I’m sure there are plenty of you that are rolling your eyes and telling me that I just don’t understand because I haven’t experienced the power of prayer. Maybe you’re right. Here’s how you can make a believer out of me. Pray that I’ll win the lottery. If I win it in the next month, I’ll be at church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. Until then, I’ll keep finding good and bad parking places, and watching people live and die. That’s life, and I’m okay living mine prayer-free.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org