I am a Christian. Far from a perfect one, but one nonetheless. I don’t speak about it much by choice. I am not “afraid” to do so, nor am I paranoid about everyone who isn’t a Christian trying to “stop” me from believing in God. Along with it again, being that I am this way by choice, I am also mindful of the other religions that exist and as I don’t want someone forcing their religion on me, I will not force mine on someone else.
When it comes to prayer, many have their opinions about that as well. I pray with my wife and children before each meal and at night before bed. When I pray alone, many times, it is for those who are less fortunate than I am. I thank God for my health, my strength, being alive and many of the other intangible aspects of my life. I don’t pray for material items or thank God that I have them. I feel that is incredibly selfish.
I want to preface this by saying I do not have a problem with anyone who chooses to pray for me for whatever reason. I always appreciate the sentiment.
That being said, here is why I am uncomfortable asking people to “pray” for my success.
First off, I am an aspiring professional screenwriter. I work VERY hard at this and have for the past several years. I do so because it is my dream to retire from the Army in the next few years and to write professionally for movies and television.
I have received such an outpouring of support from my friends and family. I honestly cannot say how much I appreciate this.
I see others who are pushing their way to accomplishing goals and when they may be ready to take a major step of some kind, they say, “Please pray for me!” This is not to attack those who do that.
I just feel it would be wrong for me to do so. As I mentioned above, I would find myself to be incredibly selfish to “pray” to “get” something. I’m very particular about prayer anyway. I’m not one who feels appropriate to just “pray” for all this and that. My mindset is, if I am meant to have something, I will have it and if I am not, then there is a reason for it.
The last few times I bought a new vehicle, I would post it on social media and almost every time, I would receive replies to the effect, “You are so blessed!” or “Prayers work!” or “God hears you!”
I’m sorry, but…no. I’ve never once prayed to get a new car. I saved up for it. Two of the three times I’ve purchased a new vehicle, I did so upon wreturning from a combat deployment. So it wasn’t as if any of them just fell into my lap. I didn’t win the lottery or the car as a prize. With respect to those who say that, I feel it is selfish to believe that God just “gave” those vehicles to me.
My wife and I will be purchasing our first home soon. I can imagine we’ll get this again once that happens. We do pray, but again…not for material items.
As I mentioned above, I do pray for internal aspects of life, such as health, being alive, patience, strength, etc. You get the idea. Let’s say I was to submit a screenplay or book to an agency for acceptance. I would never ask anyone to pray for this. If prayer was all I needed, then I wouldn’t have bothered to work so hard at it. I do a LOT of writing late or in the middle of the night. My wife and I both would much rather I got all that sleep if my success was merely dependent on prayers and not all the work and time I’ve put in.
I get the idea behind people feeling they want to “pray” for me and my success. I just don’t agree with it. Once more, I feel it is selfish. And honestly, do these folks really get down on their knees to pray for me? Do they speak it before bed? Do they mention me in church? I’m in no place to question someone’s faith, but sometimes, I’ve noticed that “I’ll pray for you” has become that reply some people (from my viewpoint) feel sort of an obligation to give, whether they actually do any praying or not. I’m perfectly fine with “Hope it goes well for you” or “Good luck.” But to pray for me means what, exactly? What about other people I may be up against? I’m sure people are praying for them also. So if they get the job and I don’t, does that mean I didn’t have enough people praying for me? Did they all not do it “right”? What if they don’t get the job?
Along with all this, there are SO many other people out there who TRULY need prayers. These folks are not trying to land a dream job or to buy a new car or house, but they are fighting for their lives every day. In some cases, all day, every day. I feel they’re much more deserving of those kinds of prayers than me. They’re poor, hungry, suffering in bad or declining health, in situtations they may feel are impossible to get out of, on the verge of death, even in other areas of the world as refugees in war-torn countries…these are the folks who need prayers. Not me.
I understand that some may feel I’m being extreme. After all, it’s okay to pray for that stuff AND me, right? But that’s not what I mean. If I don’t get that dream job of a professional writing assignment or my wife and I can’t buy our house at the time we would like, our lives go on. For some other people, if things don’t happen for them, that may be all she wrote.
Again…I am not looking to “silence” anyone or to stop them from praying. This is not a war on Christianity, Christmas, Chris Tucker, Chris Rock or Chris Evert or Christina Applegate. Hearts are in the right place and I will never be unappreciative of that. I’m simply saying that I personally feel uncomfortable asking for this from people, especially when it is for something material.
Besides, if my dream(s) don’t happen, there could be good reasons for it. And within those reasons could be valuable lessons. I don’t want to miss out on those lessons because of thinking prayer or lack thereof was the reason something didn’t happen for me. In many ways, that could be a whole lot worse for me than the thought of a prayer not being answered.