Prayer is good, giving blood is better – The Basketball Jones
I was listening to a podcast the other day about basketball. At the start of every episode they drop an often silly little quote. But this day I was struck by the quote above. I don’t know who said it first or what their original intent was but it got me thinking about prayer.
I worry about the way people pray. I worry about why we pray.
A few months ago a friend texted my wife and I. She was pregnant and was rushing to the hospital fearing that her child wasn’t well. She asked that we would pray, so we did.
Later that night we heard from her again. All was well, “God is good” she texted back.
A prayer was answered and God is good.
But what if it wasn’t all well?
I struggle with prayer a LOT. I struggle with the idea that we ask God to just step in and fix things for us. I struggle with the way we pray because it seems to treat God, as my father would say, as some kind of spiritual vending machine. Put in the right words, add tears and bingo God fixes. This gets to my struggle with why we pray.
I worry that we pray so that we don’t have to do anything. I worry that most of us pray so that we can be absolved of our responsibility and our role. I worry that prayer for so many of us has become the copout to real and messy relationships.
I sat at home and said “God please be with my friend. Support her and her husband. Bless and protect their child” and then just moved on. My part was done.
Sometimes I really suck.
What if it didn’t end up ok? What if there was a problem? Good thing I prayed. Maybe it was all ok because I prayed, I don’t know. What I do know is there are LOADS of times I’ve prayed for good things to happen and they didn’t.
What if she lost the baby? Her and her husband alone in a hospital room. I bet that’s how God planed for us to live and how community and love are suppose to work. I’m sure they would have felt better sitting there knowing that I prayed.
But hey, I was done, I prayed.
That’s why I worry about prayer.
I think prayer is so immensely important. But if your prayer leads you to feel done after you’ve prayed I think something is missing. If a friend in turmoil causes you to pray and then move on, you’re missing it. If you connect with God in prayer and aren’t moved to action, what are you praying about?
Is giving blood really better than prayer? No, but if you’re prayer doesn’t lead you to also ‘giving blood’ then I think you need to take a real deep look at your prayer.