Thursday, January 9, 2014
Prayer. The Ultimate... Cop-out?
I know many Christians, to be honest most of the people I know personally, and through social media are either Christian or Atheist. I wish I had more Buddhist friends in person and online. But among the things I often see when someone says they have a problem is "I'll pray for you." While I am a Rabbi, and I do pray, I do not pray for others. I do not pray over the dead that they might find peace. I pray that I find the strength to comfort those who remain. If someone is in need of help, I pray that I find the strength to help them, to do what needs to be done. I pray that I have the strength to stand against what I feel to be ill with the world. I do not pray that the Almighty will help them, or that the Almighty will bless them with funds to solve their problems. I do not pray for safety or the safety of others, I might hope if I feel that what I have done to assist them is not enough, but when your time is finished in this world, it is finished, all you can do is hope it works out, prayer does nothing.
I constantly see I'll pray for you, and then nothing else. Prayer is wonderful, when you are praying for the right things, personal strength to do the things that need to be done. But when you pray for other things, its a cop-out. It makes you feel better, by uttering it, you are giving the impression that you are really doing something, but you are not. You are passing the buck along, you are in essence saying that you can do nothing, or you really don't want to do anything about a problem.
One of the Rabbis I knew would always comment "The only thing the Almighty ever did for or to you was this. He gave you a mind, to think and reason, so you can feel and choose a course of action." No where in there did he say anything about the Almighty solving all the worlds problems, curing illnesses, or taking the time to assist those in need. That is why we are here, we see a world problem, we see someone in need, we help them any way we can. Prayer is not one of them. We have people who are intelligent enough to become Doctors, they cure people of their illnesses and injuries, I am sure the Almighty would rather you see one of them, than burden him with all that ills you.
We are said to be the masters of this planet, we rule over the land and sea. We have minds that function, we have so many ways of helping and doing that the Almighty needs not be concerned with prayers to help us out. That is something we must choose to do, or choose to ignore. I'll pray for you is choosing to ignore the problem. Praying for someone to be cured of an illness does nothing but make you feel better. Try taking a day off from work to ensure the person makes it to their doctors appointment, or chemotherapy appointment, ensuring that they are not alone when the treatment takes its hold on them. Giving someone food when they are hungry, clothing when they are cold, or even money when they need it. They know what they need, what they need it for, just as the Almighty does, but it is a test to weigh your actions.