Posts Tagged ‘ Prayer ’

God Hears Your Prayers

Yes, I stumble across random posts by believers that are trying to give advice to other believers and it hurts. Seriously it hurts. First when my jaw hits the desk and then again when trying to do a triple face palm.

This post is a comment on one from altruisco, you might know them. He feels privileged that he can pray to a god and he is concerned that some might be discouraged when their prayers do not seem to be answered right away.

Our privilege of prayer is from God, and it is as much ours now as when it was given to Israel (Deuteronomy 4:7). Yet, when we pray or speak to the One in Heaven, there are times when He seems not to answer. There can be many reasons for this, and the Scriptures suggest why and how our prayers are being dealt with by the One who is so tender and loving, who Himself loves our communing with God the Father, for He, Himself, is our representative (Hebrews 4:15).

But don’t let George discourage you, let’s continue

A primary reason why prayer is unanswered is sin. God cannot be mocked or deceived, and He who sits enthroned above knows us intimately, down to our every thought (Psalm 139:1-4). If we are not walking in the Way or we harbor enmity in our hearts toward our brother or we ask for things with the wrong motives (such as from selfish desires), then we can expect God not to answer our prayer because He does not hear (2 Chronicles 7:14; Deuteronomy 28:23; Psalm 66:18; James 4:3). Sin is the “stopper” to all the potential blessings that we would receive from the infinite “bottle” of God’s mercy! Indeed, there are times when our prayers are heinous in the Lord’s sight, most notably when we clearly do not belong to the Lord either because of unbelief (Proverbs 15:8) or because we are practicing hypocrisy (Mark 12:40).

I’m thinking this guy has not read

Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Another reason why prayer seems to go unanswered is that the Lord is drawing out of our faith a deeper reliance and trust in Him, which should bring out of us a deeper sense of gratitude, love and humility. In turn, this causes us to benefit spiritually, for He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; Proverbs 3:34). Oh, how one feels for that poor Canaanite woman, who cried out incessantly to our Lord for mercy when He was visiting the region of Tyre and Sidon (Matthew 15:21-28)! She was hardly the person a Jewish rabbi would pay attention to. She was not a Jew and she was a woman, two reasons that Jews ignored her. The Lord doesn’t seem to answer her petitions, but He knew all about her situation. He may not have answered her stated needs immediately, but still He heard and granted her request.

It’s just a shame he doesn’t answer the prayers of those parents with starving children.

https://i0.wp.com/api.ning.com/files/lYEJbpG0pL6ZQDhiG1*xmd4scT7laTuYuLFzDkDoTiA2Nz-S8G5jgElQKLxDtE1T/ThankYouGod.jpeg

God may often seem silent to us, but He never sends us away empty-handed. Even if prayer has not been answered, we must rely upon God to do so in His own time. Even the exercise of prayer is a blessing to us; it is because of our faith that we are stirred to persist in prayer. It is faith that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6), and if our prayer life is wanting, does that not reflect our spiritual standing also? God hears our impoverished cries for mercy, and His silence inflames us with a sense of persistence in prayer. He loves us to reason with Him. Let us hunger for the things that are after God’s heart and let us walk in His ways and not our own. If we are faithful to pray without ceasing, then we are living in the will of God, and that can never be wrong (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).

God always seems silent to starving children. He sends them to the grave empty handed and with empty stomachs. Yes, trust that your god will answer your prayer. It worked out so very well for those now dead starving children and their families. Those starving children must not have believed in god with enough fervor. Maybe they forgot to pray without ceasing.

 

 

Belief In God Is A Waste

The tragedy in Kenya has brought out the god botherers full force. I won’t link to the blog (sigh) but here is the summary of the post:

I thank God that nobody I knew was hurt. A classmate and friend of mine was in the building when it went down but she was rescued by the police. She is still in shock, but she is safe and thankful. For those who were pesonally affected, I am very sorry for what happened.

They thank god that nobody they know was hurt… screw everybody else, god doesn’t love them. They are sorry for what happened to the victims and their family, but god doesn’t love them enough to save them.

What should matter now is that we stick together as one as we move ahead. As for those evil people, I have one thing to say. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and he is as fierce as he is just. They will get their own in time, believe it. Whether it be in this world or in the afterlife. Believe it.

Then they get kind of normal… till they bring evil into it. Evil can only be countered by a god, their god. Never mind getting revenge now or setting things right… let god get them in the afterlife! You better believe it too, god said it.

This is one of the most egregious problems with religion – it does not fix anything. Instead it teaches to just turn the other cheek and pretend that life will get better. When it does teach doing something to fix the world we get what happened in Kenya. What is the lesson here? Is it that you should pray to the right god? Is it that god doesn’t really like shopping malls? Maybe it is that there is no god and people do what they want, hiding behind the alibi that god told them to do it.

If you ask me, most of the “real evil” (TM) on this planet wears the garb of clerics and believers. You can argue that point but you don’t have the statistics to back it up.

Whether it is because of holy texts or not, most of the evil on this planet lives their lives by the rules of a holy book.

So according to this blogger, god is going to punish the people he sent to kill hundreds at a shopping mall for killing the people he sent them to kill. Yes, makes perfect sense.

Oh, but I hear you say that the real god didn’t send them to kill, they did that on their own. Well, the ‘real god’ didn’t protect the dead did it?

 

There is no god.

Best Response To “The Thaw” So Far

Yes, I know… another video link…

PhilosophicalVlogs has some pretty good stuff. Stop over and show some love if you are so inclined. I like his response better than any others so far. Apologists will be sure to tell us that they don’t follow the old covenant and all that, but I think this video nails things down. If you’re not following god’s word … you’re just making shit up.

Yes, I know it’s nearly summer and he is wearing winter stuff… I have no clue. Perhaps it’s because he is so cool?

Guess what happens in part two?

UPDATE:

Okay, do NOT hurt yourself guessing…

 

Yeah, I don’t get the wardrobe changes either… hahaha

What Did You Just Ask?

What Did You Just Say?

To Celebrate My 500th Post

Well, it’s here. Some time back (see link above), I said that I’d like to celebrate 500 posts with an Ask Me Anything (AMA) of sorts. I Think that I’ll not put any limits on what kind of questions, but I will say that I might not choose to answer in a way that you like … don’t be sad, sometimes that happens.

You can see the topics I post on for inspiration or just pull a question out of your hat.

You can ask here in the comments or at the email address: myatheistlife at G mail dot com

Please, if asking in the comments, start a new paragraph with QUESTION: at the beginning of the line.

QUESTION: Please ask your questions like this.

Heads Up

There are  a couple of topics which the men in black will not allow me to talk about:

  • Faster than light travel
  • Cold fusion
  • Tasteful mother’s day gift giving
  • Why your sports team sucks
  • How I know that you need to do laundry

Other than that, ask away.

MAL

Prayer At Government Meetings, Just No!

This is not in response to anything in particular, just a thought that struck me today.

It used to be, back when I was a fundamentalist Christian, that I could understand why people want to pray before everything they do. They actually believe that there is a god, that this god is the god they believe in, and that this god gives a shit about council meetings.

These are three things that they can NOT prove to be true.

The act of praying before government meetings then can only have a couple of purposes.

  1. These people believe the three things they can never prove
  2. They want or need for others to see them praying in public
  3. They want or need their government to be their religion (theocracy)

None of these things have anything at all to do with public policy or how the city (or whatever) government actually works. There is no room for gods in government if that government supports religious freedom.

For the Christians who might be reading this:

Matthew 6:1-34
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. …

Matthew 6:6
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:5
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Matthew 6:7
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Essentially such public prayer accomplishes nothing but aggravating the god of Abraham and alienating those who do not belong to your sect of blind faith.

If you are unable to execute the duties of your office without the help of an imaginary friend, why do you not recuse yourself and step down from office so that other, more qualified persons can take over and serve the constituents faithfully?

What is your excuse for not doing so already?

Does anyone know some valid reason why they insist on doing this unconstitutional act?

My World View – Agnosticism

I had set about to write a ‘what is agnosticism’ post several times. It turns out that it wasn’t as easy as I had at first thought. Insert some saying about getting on a horse here. I’ll have to leave equestrianism for another post 🙂

Agnostics can be militant or not, vociferous or not. In many ways they are like atheists. The label does not define them in any way but one – they generally do not believe in the existence of gods (see no evidence for them) but cannot be certain that gods do not exist so will not claim that they do not. Most people with any vestment in this discussion will already have formed an idea of how they feel about such a position. I’m not going to discuss their opinion, or even the opinion of agnostics.

Meditating with my cousins

I remember well the transition from evangelical believer to agnostic to atheist to anti-theist. It was not a weekend fling. It took a lot of work to figure out that I was agnostic when in fact I finally told myself that I was. I can’t remember exactly when it was but I do remember that it was out of frustration. I was in search of answers since I was a very young boy. Finding none in my parents church I sought them in other churches. They didn’t have answers either. I travelled the world, well, I travelled some of it. More of it than most American born folk. I looked for answers everywhere I travelled, and found none. Oddly enough, one of the few places that I went where I did go that did not raise more questions was the zoo. I visited zoos all over the world. Never once did I find a question there that I could not also find an answer. There, the magic of the number 5 was all around me. There I found the meaning of life: eat, drink, fornicate, sleep, wake … repeat. It is what all these wonderful animals and I had in common. The real meaning of life, if there must be one, must be a meaning shared by all of life; the best of us and the least of us. I know that I spent a lot of time watching primates. The looked to me like cousins, however it was the apes that made me think. I watched them and I could spot the policeman, the troublemakers, the miscreant teens, the caring, the democrats, the republicans, the libertarians. I could see in them all manner of human behavior. At least I then thought it was only human behaviors. I did not understand evolution as I do now.

This made me think. How can God not care for them? Why are humans special? Why is there no heaven for them? Where do they go after death? Why doesn’t my God care the same about these wonderful creatures? There were, of course, no answers in the brochure with the map of the zoo. These thoughts troubled me. They troubled me more than anything else ever had. I could find no answers and as far as I knew I was the only one for thousands of miles that felt as I did, if there even was another thinking like me. I have always known what it feels like to be, or at least feel, alone. I thought quite some time about it and finally decided that I just don’t know. There are no answers that sound right so I just don’t know and can’t know. I can’t know what happens to animals when they die. It was not long before I had a discussion with myself and we concluded that it is unreasonable to assume that we can know that a god like that exists. For quite a few years I was content with the fact that I can’t know. It was not until many years later that I would understand this to be agnosticism.

So What Exactly Happened Next? (C’mon, finish the story)

I was agnostic for many years. I searched in all the usual ‘spiritual’ haunts for signs of supernatural evidence of any kind. For that I can only say that Harry Houdini and Penn and Teller are kind influences on the world that I then inhabited. It was at this point that I started learning the importance of thinking critically about the world around me. Reason and rationality became part of my world. I know the sequence well. After these changes it was then that I started becoming an atheist. Not because I hated god or anything as silly as some apologists will tell you. It was simply because I had looked everywhere and could find nothing but reasons to not believe, nothing but lack of evidence, nothing but evidence that gods are not necessary to life. I remained agnostic, yet fearful that a god might exist, though I did not know if it was the god of Abraham or some other god… it still seemed possible.

I don’t remember the day exactly, only that I was thinking to myself that it was frustrating that yet another ‘spiritual’ story turned out to be complete scam. I was frustrated. This god was supposed to be omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient. Why is it that I can’t find him? Why is he hiding? It was in this funk that I sat up like a shot, looked around carefully, thought to myself nervously…. and said a prayer: God, if you exist, show me. Give me a sign, throw me a bone, something, anything… and I waited. Weeks, maybe months later I hesitantly repeated this prayer. Still nothing. I began to become distraught by this result.

Months later yet my distress turned to anger. Again sitting by myself I repeated my experiment but spoke the words out loud as if this would help him hear me and know I meant it. I didn’t even see a pair of paper clips posed in a cross formation. I looked. There were no signs. I did not know what to do. Eventually I firmly called out in prayer ‘show yourself. I don’t care if it kills me. Show yourself, this teasing is not working for me’ and waited. Still nothing. This was repeated until it became a threat for god to kill me if he could. Just show up and obliterate me with laser beams from his eyes or something. Still no sign. I teased back… ‘guess you don’t care, not about me… show yourself… coward!’ I did not know it, but I had become an atheist. I had lost all fear and respect for gods. They have no power, no presence, they are nothing. The god of Abraham, like Thor, was a myth.

Still, I was alone. Always alone. I did not know anyone that thought even a little bit like me. I had never thought of finding others. I never thought of needing others. I was simply content that I had the answer I had looked for. The meaning of life was already clear. I learned it from my cousins. If there is a true meaning of life, it is true for them. If they can enjoy it I too can enjoy it. I was content. I needed no more explanations, no more excuses. Life made sense to me.

So what happened to make you so angry?

That’s fairly easy. After 9/11 the activity and zest of Christianity popped up and started making claims and pushing for this and that… it felt wrong. My cousins would not do this. Why are these people doing this. Their god does not exist, surely they have a clue? Some time later I heard about these four horsemen fellows. I studied and listened. It was amazing to find that there are other people who think like I do. I was stunned. I literally did not know what to think of it all.

The more I read, the more I studied, the more certain that I became that religion poisons everything. That these angry fellows were right, but more pointedly many of them did not go far enough. It is not enough to say that the god of Abraham does not exist, that there is no credible evidence for such a being to exist but that there is no credible reason to believe that such supernatural beings even can exist. Since that moment science seems to have accelerated. Perhaps I’m just reading more and more on the Internet, I don’t know. The evidence I needed for the answers I sought is becoming available at an ever increasing pace. Religion offers me no answers. Science brings me more answers every day. The god of Abraham is the kind of horrendous manifestation of mankind’s imagination that truly sets us apart from animals. An animal will kill another but never make up a story to justify it. In this, yes, we are different from the animals.

I don’t agree with all atheists. I don’t agree with all non-believers… I am me. I got here on my own. I speak for me and no other and no other speaks for me.

If you wish to present to me apologetics I ask that you start with the evidence for believing that a supernatural being of any kind can exist. What evidence even shows that such beings are possible. Show me that, then we can talk about the rest.

Christ The Assassin

It seems that every day some wack-job believer does something even crazier than I could hope for. I kind of enjoy them getting attention when the act out their delusions. It really puts some perspective on the situation for all of us.

Over at FreethoughtBlogs En Tequila Es Verdad has a post which is commentary on a post by This Week In Christian Nationalism about a women’s prayer group that has announced that they are praying daily for the women who work with Military Religious Freedom Foundation and all their female relatives to contract virulent breast cancer which is incapable of being cured.

YES, you read that correctly.

They are praying for the death of these women. They are asking their god to kill these women. They are not asking what their god’s will is in regard to these women, they are simply asking their god to kill them in the nastiest way they can think of. This IS homicidal intent and should be punished. We can say it is homicidal intent because these women believe that

Our prayer circle has never failed to acheive our hosts granting of the scripture we pray. for direct intervention against you as you are a true demon to America. Luke 9:1 We will not stop our prayers until you stop the evil you do with Lucifer on a daly basis. Luke 9:1 …   … Now for our prayer, we pray that the women who work in your MFRR and the women in your family will befall fast moving breast cancer which can not everbe cured.

….

know that we pray and pray hard all the days until you stop your destruction of our American army and accept Christ Jesus as Lord and join His army.

Go read the linked posts as well. I won’t post pictures that are already there.

For those who have been following my Hitler posts, notice that these women believe themselves to be Christians of good standing.

For all those reading who are Christian, what do you think, are these women really Christians? Can you tell? How can we tell if they are or not when they claim not only to be Christians but in immediate contact with god and further that he always answers their prayers?

Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE

I think these women in the prayer circle are exactly what the Christian Bible calls them to be, despite the Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek influences found in the New Testament. I should probably do a separate post on this because I do think these prayer circle women are Christians and they interpret their Bible literally or close to it. They are doing what their good book says. Kill the witches, unruly children, those that work on the Sabbath, homosexuals etc. Their god gave them plenty of examples of why it’s perfectly acceptable to murder anyone that doesn’t believe like they do.  Those Christians who think that their Bible does not encourage that are either ignorant of their holy text or are ignoring parts of it (and in doing so creating their own religion).

How To Convert An Atheist…

Do you snow? Bored?
Do ewes no bored n ants, or May bee intents? Ewe no white eye … mean girls? Just a position. Incite ought. Ewe dew sea? Write? The-rapist calms yore fears. Seriously, they are just words and can sometimes mean confusing things. Despite that, trust me when I say that I do not believe in gods or deities, that is exactly what I mean. I do not mean that:

  • I am angry at god, especially your god
  • I just want to be able to sin, I’m a law abiding citizen and I like it that way
  • I believe in some deist version of god, I mean NO deities or gods or supernatural entities
  • I simply have not heard your telling of the story yet
  • I worship the devil – an invention of the Christian god
  • I just don’t go to church regularly
  • I hate the holiday season
  • I have no morals
  • I am confused and need your help or information to experience your god in the right way
  • Something bad happened in my life so I blame your god, or any god
  • I would like to spend time talking with you to learn more about your god. I’ve heard it already
  • I simply need an updated version of your holy book

As an atheist, I know the following:

  • Everyone who came before you have all miserably failed to provide compelling scientific evidence to support the claim that supernatural being(s) exist.
  • Prayer or talking to your god is no different than a young child talking with an invisible, yet non-existent, friend.
  • It is worrying that people of faith (people who are deluded with superstition) are flying planes, running nuclear power plants and caring for weapons of mass destruction, garnering votes, raising money to infest our educational systems, and generally seeking positions of societal power.

What you need to know before proselytizing to an atheist If you feel the need to witness or proselytize to an atheist there are a few recommended prerequisites which you may not be aware of:

  1. Know your holy book better than they do. Atheists know a lot about it so make sure you read it cover to cover… several times. The more times you read it the better off you will be. It is likely that they will quote scripture to you.
  2. Know the holy books of other religions. Atheists know a lot about them too. At least know the basics of what is in the books and the basic tenants of those other religions. Atheists view all religions equally and will call on you to explain why your faith is correct and other faiths are not.
  3. Know astrology. Yes, that astrology. There are many astrology websites, so there is no excuse for not learning about it. Do not forget to learn the history of astrology. Astrology has been part of society for far longer than your faith has.
  4. Know logic and reason. There are many websites about logical and reasoned argument. Read a few of them. No, Seriously, read as many as you need till you understand. Repeat this process often.
  5. Know history. Not the history from your holy book, but the history that academic historians study and teach. Study world history all the way back to Sumeria and before.
  6. Know mythology of ancient peoples. Not just Norse gods, all of them. Start with Mithra, Inanna, Horus, Osiris etc.
  7. Know ancient religions and the time-line of religious thought. You should know who Zoroaster was. What the code of Hammurabi is, who Horus and Mithra were.
  8. Know geology, cosmology, general science, linguistics, biology and the theories of evolution, gravity, and special relativity, string theory, and be able to explain why/how time differs from north pole to equatorial mountain top.
  9. Know at least the basics of modern philosophy. Again, there are many websites to help you there.
  10. Atheists have put a lot of time into learning about the world and forming their world view. Have the courtesy to have done at least as much as they have before trying to tell them they are mistaken and confused.
Know the big arguments. There are common arguments for and against the existence of god(s), deities, and supernatural beings. You will want to be able to speak intelligently on each of these arguments if you are to communicate well with atheists. You can start at the Philosophy of Religion site.
Finally, I think the thing that you need to know is that you won’t convince me, I must do that myself. All you can do is present convincing argument and evidence. Of course, if you have compelling, testable, scientific evidence that your god exists rather than the myriad other possible gods, present it. Just don’t pout when I explain to you why it’s neither evidence nor compelling.
Yes, I think you’re wasting your life. Yes, I think your faith is corrosive to society. Yes, nothing you’ve heard in your church will be new or compelling to me. But, go on, if you have something new to say I want to hear.

Thursday 24 November 2011, just another day

This past week has been full of people making plans and preparing for a feast and shopping and other things.

Eat, drink, sleep, wake, repeat…..

It’s just another day, like any other except for the various traditions and activities we do to ascribe to and imbue this day with special significance.

The first time it was supposedly held in the USA it was simply the harvest feast celebrated with some friends who helped a bunch of religious nut-bags survive. An act which I am not sure I can forgive them for. That’s right. When all of Europe was kicking these people to the curb because they were too radically puritan for polite society the American natives helped them to not die. Clearly evolution does not always create a greatest possible outcome.

That was one dinner, albeit several days of it. There is lots of evidence to suggest the first one technically was in Virginia or Florida. No matter which, it is a harvest celebration. What else in your life is affected by the traditional fall harvest? Anything? Do you know what is harvested in the fall in your area? Besides pumpkins. It’s a tradition for tradition’s sake and is being co-opted by the religious. If you want to celebrate the fall harvest, do so, but do it with people who actually harvest something besides retail sale purchases. Try finding some actual farmers.

Besides that, what are you thankful for? Orange juice and bananas year round? How about all the other products you enjoy year round which are seasonal in nature? Basically we are following a tradition which has no visible place or impact on modern society.

But you say ‘hey, it’s a good way to think about the things we are thankful for” and I will quickly reply with this: If you need a single day dedicated to being thankful in order to be thankful then you are doing it completely wrong. Telling me that I should be humble and thankful on this day of the year is trite and insulting. Here in the USA it’s just another Thursday. A Thursday dedicated to indulgences and gluttonous behaviors of all kinds.

Now, having briefly discussed the problems of such a holiday celebration, lets look at how it is celebrated… with gluttony. Too much food, too much drink, too much spending – which ends in interest payments (usury), too much sports, too much of everything that is representative of NOT being thankful. Thankful beings share what they have rather than clamor for more of it. We celebrate like we are aristocrats, rather than people thankful for what we do have. It’s not a very humble or Christ-like way to celebrate. Then again, none of our traditions are very humble or Christ-like and believers have made certain of it.

Basically quit telling me it’s a holiday to celebrate god’s goodness to us. It is not now, it never has been, and I want to attempt to make sure it never is.

Your god had nothing to do with it. Trust me on this. He was busy trying to kill off those religious nut-bags that stumbled off the Mayflower. It was the native Americans who you should be thanking. Perhaps if they had not saved those puritanical bigoted delusional twits we might have a higher rate of tolerance in this country. If European religious thought had prevailed on this side of the pond we might well be all done with believers and the crap they bring to society.

Thanksgiving is a harvest celebration, not a religious one. If you want to do a pot-luck and leave god to get his own dinner somewhere else, great, I’ll bring a dish. Don’t tell me we need to thank YOUR god for all that is good. Lets see you spend some time thanking YOUR god for the bad things: high interest rates, war, famine, disease, pestilence, witch hunters, people who sexually prey on young people, people who sit by and pray while their children die of easily treatable maladies. Lets see you thank your god for some of that before stabbing your fork into some turkey.

Why does prayer feel good?

You have to understand that while the world’s financial systems are in a kind of meltdown mode, life can be difficult for your average Joe. I know how that difficulty feels. It’s not been easy for the last couple of years. When times are tough and money is tight, it is tempting to say a prayer. It would be so nice to simply ask for help and get it. No, I really mean it would be fucking awesome to simply bow my head and ask for help and then magically get it. Maybe you know how nice that would be, maybe you don’t. Either way I have to tell  you that magic to pay my electric bill would be JFA – Just Fucking Awesome.

Sadly, there is no such thing. I have to pay that bill or go without. I’m nobody and nowhere near too big to fail. I’m not going to get a bail out. Sometimes I sit on my back patio and have a smoke and I think about where I’m going to get the money from. What can I do to generate even a couple hundred more dollars per month? Some times I look up to the stars and wish that if the aliens are here, now would be a good time to scoop me up and take me to another galaxy. Still I’m left there on the patio trying to figure out how I’m going to pay that bill. I don’t have an answer, no closure, no assurance. I have only the idea that I have to do something else, something more, something different. I look at my very loyal dog laying there on the patio and I get the feeling that I want to cry because I have to figure out where the money will come from to buy more dog food. I try to remind myself that today 18000 people starved to death; my position is not even close to being that desperate. I’m one of the lucky people if you consider the entire globe in this situation. It still hurts. It is still debilitating at times. It is still emasculating. There is no band-aid for the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness. Don’t get me wrong. I want to go to the cupboard and pull out the bottle of feel better pills and take two to make sure that my psyche remains in tact as I charter my way through the rough spots. I looked. There is no bottle of feel better pills. Looks like I have to take this on one the chin like all the others. I have to take the hit and keep on going. It’s hard to know why I have to keep on going, but for some reason I do. Giving up doesn’t seem like a good idea. That doesn’t make me less desperate, nor does it make me more comfortable. It simply eliminates an option. Eliminating options seems to be a common thread lately.

All that I’ve done to get a new job, sometimes working at it 10-12 hours per day finally paid off. The stress has finally been set loose and my body reacted to the release of it, or at least to the partial release of it. A cold sore and some pimples. I kind of expected something like this would happen. I’ve seen tough times before. I’m sure I’ll see stressful times again. I never prayed nor wanted to pray this time around. It’s just a waste of time. People close to me had various reactions. One told me that they were praying for me and how god is good because he got me a job. I simply asked why he took the other job away unexpectedly and put me in this troubling position? My wife had a thought that as soon as I finished the built-in cabinets I built for the living room I would get a job. She’s now convinced she has some magic way to see the way the future will unfold. My next sizable raise won’t happen till I’ve constructed the door/wall for our formal dining area so that it is more like a real office. Funny how future events depend on my completing large projects on HER to-do list. Of all the reactions to the news, the one that didn’t make me roll my eyes a bit (or even at all) was the simple statement “Congratulations. You deserve a good job that you like doing! I’m very happy for you!” … can you imagine why?

The way that I see it is this, prayer makes you feel good while you are doing nothing at all. It relieves you of having to worry or figure out how to fix things. I think it is much more useful to thoughtfully ponder your situation and think of what you can do to make things better. Even small changes can make a big difference. It’s hard to think of small changes when you’re busy praying for someone else to come bail you out.

So why does prayer feel good?

Because it stops you from having to deal with the pain of getting through tough times… among other things.

My advice?

I kind of like that I got through a rough patch, and this was an extended one. What doesn’t kill me often does make me stronger. I advise forgetting how to pray or even wanting to pray. Know that it is going to hurt, take it on the chin, and never stop working on how to fix it, change it, or make it better… even when your chin is hurting. If you’re lucky you will have people around you who are supportive and can help you keep your chin up. They say that you can’t really feel alive till you know what death looks like. I’ve been weeks away from bankruptcy, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane, and a few other things. Perhaps not all of them count as near-death but they absolutely remind you how tenuous life really is; how close we all are to complete failure if the infrastructure we depend on fails; that we are about 6 missed meals away from anarchy; that despite all our weaknesses and foibles (here in the west) we are almost all of us much better off than any of the 16,000+ people who will have starved to death in the last 24 hours around the globe. It is not possible to feel as good as I feel right now if you have to credit a deity with the fruits of all your own hard work.

Forget how to pray. Forget you ever wanted to.

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