I live in a very religious country, Mexico. Where people pray for everything!! Literally everything. Prayers are a means for people to ask God for what they need and want. What they wish for others and also as a way to improve the world.
We are taught from a very young age that you should pray for every need and that you should also pray for others; pray to end world poverty, pray for world peace, pray to get whatever you want, just pray.
I´m not trying to underestimate the power of praying, but I can´t help but wonder if prayers were to truly work, then how come my country is so utterly fucked up? We are amongst the most religious countries in the world, people really do pray here. Do you really think those prayers are being answered?
One of the main problems is that most people who pray don´t do. They think and feel that by praying they´re getting things done, but you can´t really put in God´s hand what you can do but are too lazy or selfish to do.
I don´t know if you´ve noticed that the most religious countries in the world also tend to be the poorest ones. Look at countries in Latin America, the Middle East (excluding a few exceptions), Africa and even most countries in Asia. There tends to be an inclination towards poverty in the most religious nations in the world.
On the other hand, look at countries that are not very religious like Norway, Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand or Switzerland. They´re wealthy nations, and their population is not characterized for being religious. They´re also very peaceful nations, with low crime rates and high living standards.
Could it be that these wealthy nations are well-off because they spend more time doing than praying for stuff to get done?
There is more commitment in taking matters into your own hand and doing something than praying for it to happen. When people shield themselves behind their praying it can many times be a way of saying “I don´t want to handle this, so I´ll just pray for it and leave the dirty work to God.”
I see people who spend tens of thousands of dollars on handbags and yet they pray so that those in need can find food for their tables. I see people who pray to end corruption when they themselves are corrupt. People who pray for children but refuse to adopt.
I recently had a conversation with a friend regarding the crisis in Syria, she said how she was praying every night for the poor children of Syria. Needless so say she’s trying to have her third child and she’s in perfect conditions of adopting an orphan child from this country. The war has created thousands of orphan children who are now living on their own in refugee camps. Children who could be adopted and given a loving and safe home. But of course, she would never go through all that trouble because it would mean to go out of her way. So for her it’s a lot easier and convenient to just say that she’s praying and to get together with her friends to pray to improve the circumstances of the world instead of actively deciding to do do something. She has her power in her hands, maybe not to change the world, but she CAN change the world for at least ONE human being.
Here´s the thing, most people shield themselves behind their prayers. Because it´s easy, you lay quiet for a few minutes and ask God for stuff. That way they psychologically trick themselves into believing that they´re doing something, they feel like they´ve contributed.
Most people don´t really want to go out of their way to do something for their own selves, let alone for other people, and so they say: “I´m praying for it to happen.”
My acquaintance was technically praying for someone else to do what she´s not willing to do. Of course adopting a child is a huge responsibility, but so is having a biological one. I really wasn’t expecting she would adopt a child. But at the same time, I wasn’t expecting the hypocrisy of being able to do something but choosing not to do it and still wanting to get a “thank you” because she´s praying. That´s like seeing someone suffer on the street and instead of actively wanting to do something to make their existence better, you tell them “I won´t help you, but I’ll pray so that someone else does.”
First of all, you don´t need to be saying that you´re praying, you can do it in silence and no one has to know.
On the other hand, if you´re selfish, your selfish, period. We´re all selfish someway or another. But don´t try to lie to yourself and others pretending that you´re a good religious person and are trying to help when in reality you don´t want to. Or maybe just within your comfortable parameters.
How many times do we miss out on helping someone because we don´t want to go out of our way? I know I´ve done it. It´s uncomfortable, it´s uncomfortable to go out of our way to do something for someone else. But there´s a reason why the world is in such a deplorable state, and it´s not God´s fault, it´s our own.
Maybe if we were more honest with ourselves we could open our minds and eyes to the dreadful reality that this world lays before us so that we can actively start DOING something to change it and not just praying to change it. GOD IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE SOMETHING WE CAN CHANGE OURSELVES.
And this is what happens with a lot of people who pray. They pray to end world hunger, but are they actually doing something to try and end world hunger? They pray for world peace, but are they really working and acting into creating peace?
I completely understand that MANY things are out of our control. An unemployed person might be praying for money in the form of job and not being able to find one, then please continue to pray. You might find yourself in a plain with a broken engine, it is completely out of your control, start praying! Your friend might be in emotional distress, you can pray for her and also lend listening ears and hugging arms.
Sometimes all you can do is pray, but MANY other times you can DO and pray. One shouldn’t keep you from the other one. The problem comes when we live in a world of prayers, but not doers.