Dear Christian, Prayer does not Work

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.   If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
                                                      —Jesus of Nazareth


“Wow!  Anything, Jesus?  If I ask for anything in your name and do not doubt in my heart, it will happen?!!”

How many Christians really believe that? 

When I was a Christian, this was my typical daily prayer:

Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for all your blessings this day.  Thank you for my family.  Thank you for my family’s health.  Thank you for my health.  Thank you for my job; our house; our friends; our church; our pastor.  Dear Jesus, I pray for all those sick or suffering today.  Please be with them and heal them if it is your will.  Lord, help me to be a light of hope and salvation today.  Help me to be a good man, a kind human being, and a good disciple.  Help me to share your Gospel by word and deed to all I meet. Please keep my family safe today. Amen.

Why didn’t I ask Jesus to place a package with a million bucks inside on my doorstep?  Why didn’t I ask Jesus to put a new Porsche in the driveway?  Why didn’t I ask Jesus to turn me into the best looking, muscle-bound man on earth?


Clergyman:  You silly man.  Jesus isn’t going to answer those prayers because none of those things are God’s will!  Jesus will only answer your prayer if you ask for it in his name, if you do not doubt in your heart, and,if it is his will!  Sheesh!

But the Bible passage above doesn’t say anything about it having to be God’s will!

Clergyman:  Well, if you read therest of the Bible, that is what it says.

Ok, well how about if I pray for the following things.  They are surely God’s will:

—heal all the sick in the world today.

—stop all the violence in the world today.

—end world starvation today.

If I pray for these things they will be done, right?

Clergyman:  Silly, silly man.  Humans have brought the pain and suffering of sickness, violence, and starvation upon themselves by their willful, sinful acts against God.  God allows these things out of his righteous justice.  It pains him greatly to watch this suffering day after day, year after year, century after century, millennia after millennia, but his righteousness demands mankind’s punishment. 

God will not answer those prayers.

Ok, so adults are all wicked and sinful and deserve to suffer sickness, violence, and starvation because they have willfully sinned against God, but what about the little children?  Surely God will answer these prayers for children:

—no child will die of starvation today.

—no child will die of sickness today.

Clergyman:  Silly, silly, silly man.  God grievesto see children suffer from starvation and disease but this suffering is the consequence of their ancient ancestors’ wicked sin of eating God’s forbidden fruit.

That doesn’t really seem fair, but…what about this:  If children must die by disease and starvation, that is one thing, but surely it isn’t God’s will for little children to be brutally tortured, raped, and murdered.  Surely God would answer my prayer for all torture, rape, and murder of little children to stop today so that they can die by natural causes, like disease, war, and starvation, don’t you think?  Jesus wouldn’t want a little child to suffer so horribly in such a vile, horrific act when he has the power to stop it, would he?

Clergyman:  God’s ways are not our ways, my son.

Dear Reader:  So you see friends, Jesus only answers the easy stuff.  That is why Christians don’t ask Jesus anything tough.  We thank him for healing Aunt Hilda of her sinus infection, but don’t dare ask Jesus to heal the amputees.  That would be really rude of us to be so demanding!

Jesus only answers the fluff; the kind of stuff that would probably happen anyway…  Hmm.  They probably would happen anyway…

Wait a minute.  Maybe…  Maybe…Jesus isn’t listening.  Maybe Jesus isn’t there.

Ever consider that, dear Christian?









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