It’s only Tuesday, and already a heavy week for prayer requests. I’ve been asked to pray for a dead woman, for a couple of people going to surgery, for a favorable outcome in a competition, for love, and for a third party, with details of the specific outcome the second party wants me to request for the third.
It doesn’t matter that I have said I would feel presumptuous or ridiculous praying for most of what they request, and would prefer they didn’t ask. Prayer requesters assume the right to disregard my beliefs, and to decide for me and everyone else what, how, and when we should pray.
I started asking questions at the age of seven. The list grows over time, and so far, no one has provided reasonable answers to any of them. I’m assuming, from the looks on the faces of those I ask, they probably run out to ask their other friends to pray for my confusion.
- Why would any god listen to me over the person I am praying for?
- Why would an all-knowing god require groveling, or my direction, before bestowing his graces?
- Why aren’t the prayers of one person enough?
- Is this really a popularity contest, where the person with the most praying friends receives the most gifts?
- If this is a popularity contest, should I worry less about living a good life and more about making the right friends?
- Will my afterlife change, depending on how many of those left behind continue to pray for me?
- If so, is there no need for me to lead a good life so long as I leave behind people who will pray for me?
- I believe there are many things worse than death, so when people ask me to pray for sick friends to recover, will they be offended if I pray for them to die instead?
- Does the team with the most prayers always win?
- Should I pray for doctors to do their jobs well, or patients to accept treatment and comply with the doctors’ orders, or for a god to control the outcome?
As an afterthought, possibly related, I’d prefer to see bumper stickers that say ‘Smile, I Love You’ because that infers personal responsibility and dedication.