Prayer is not the property of Christianity.
All people of faith pray.
It is verbal direct communication, by an individual or group, with the ‘God’ they believe to be ‘God’.
Or people of faith believe it to be direct verbal communication with their God.
Now I’m not even going to attempt to discuss the concept ‘God’.
Not here, now.
Since the beginning of man-kind, our kind had an awareness of a being greater than ourselves.
A being who was perhaps the origin of us & the world we live in.
A being who contains understanding greater than our own.
Who has influence beyond our own limited existence.
Who might care.
Or want to be involved.
A being, not restricted to this world, who infuses a sense of purpose & meaning into our existence.
And a sense of directions and validation into our life.
Much is invested in the pursuit of this belief.
Temples are built.
Scholars are educated.
professionals are employed.
Radio & TV stations are created & websites designed.
All of it filled with information & inspiration & perception, hoping to feed and be fed.
As prayer is universal amongst all who believe, this seems to be universal amongst people of faith as well.
As if our faith could not exist outside of the tangible physicality of these ‘thing’?
I doubt, however, if it was ever intended that spirituality & physicality would intersect & collide in buildings & equipment or books & professionals.
I think, it might have been intended to intersect in prayer & life.
If you believe in ‘God’, you pray.
It is a deeply spiritual act.
Almost a confession or admission that life is not exclusively material, but a coming together of the spiritual and material in an impossible to explain manner.
A simpler manner than the erection of a building, the hosting of a meeting or the collective pooling of resources for the expansion & maintenance of a physical, visible presence which could serve as reminder to the world that there is a God who does exist & is connected to people, or at least ‘some people’.
Too often, in the spiritual traditions I am familiar with, prayer is finite fallible man coming before infinite infallible God, requesting stuff.
I hope for.
I am weak and unable.
You are mighty & able.
Is it the same in your faith?
For, I must be decidedly non-Christian at this very moment.
I must have lost my religious focus.
Since I cannot come before God with request upon request, verbally coercing God into doing what I want him to do or seeing to my (selfish?) needs.
I cannot come before God, asking him to help me buy a new car, when millions upon millions of people do not even have access to public transport.
‘O, God, please help me afford private medical care this month, so that my wife may give birth in the luxury, comfort and exceptional care of highly dedicated & skilled medical professionals.’
How can I pray that if most people of this world do not even have access to a nurse who can measure blood pressure or test for diabetes?
Perhaps we should become the prayer.
Perhaps we should become the answer to so many other people’s cry to their God.
Regardless of what they call them.
Not to say that God is unable.
Just to say that maybe his ability is vested in me.
For does he not reside in us through his spirit?
Perhaps we should pray: ‘Here I am. Here we are. I see the need of 21 families who lost everything they had in a fire. I will embrace them, Father. On your behalf. For our sake.’
Perhaps we should be even bolder?
‘It is a waste, Father, to have a building for a few meetings in a month. To have sound equipment to match the movie theatre. We will convert it, into a place where mothers who work in our neighborhood can bring their children. And we’ll teach them. And we’ll feed them. And we’ll get a nurse to look after their health. And a dentist to check their teeth. And we’ll raise a new generation. A generation who will not wonder if you ‘are’. A generation who will be educated & enabled. Who will be able to raise their own. We’ll do this with the obscene abundance we have already accumulated.’
That is the prayer which would excite me.
‘I have too much. Thank you, God. I can give it away. Too much money. Too much stuff. Too much opportunity.’
Whether it is prayed by Christian or Muslim or Jew, by Budist or Hindu or Krishna.
This is the prayer in which spirituality and physicality finally intersects.
And it is silent.
For we are afraid.
Afraid to give it all up.
Afraid that it wasn’t ‘God’ who provided it, but us who amassed it.
And if it is so, there won’t be more.
And so we cannot give it up.
For who will look after us.
And in our unbelief, we fearfully hang on to what we have.
Perhaps the faithful do not pray.
Perhaps they do,