Life by Proxy

A couple nights ago, there was a story on the news about the little McCann girl who went missing in Portugal.  This one took a different angle.  It looked at it from the point of view of a Canadian clergyman who was assigned to the Anglican church in the Portugese town where it happened, a few days after the tragic event.

In the course of the story, the minister’s wife spoke of how she and the entire congregation prayed constantly for the little girl’s safe return.  They’re still waiting and praying.  She then asked, “How can so many people pray for the same thing and it not happen?”  If ever a question answered itself…  It was screaming out.  I wanted to scream it out.  “Because there’s no one on the receiving end of the prayers, of course!”

How she couldn’t – or wouldn’t – see it is beyond me.  Why millions of others can’t see that prayers aren’t answered is beyond me.  Everyone in a competition can pray for victory, but only one will win.  Millions have prayed for loved ones to come home from wars who didn’t.  Other people will survive complicated surgeries or be found by the police, but these are the results of human actions, not  prayers.  I guess people really are that desperate.

At best, praying for someone is extending good wishes and hopes by proxy, albeit an imaginary one.  But, why channel good wishes through a third party?  Why not give them directly?  It expresses the sentiment you feel and, ultimately, is more sincere.

Prayer could actually be seen as a selfish act.  It makes the person praying feel better.  It does nothing for the target of the prayers.  There was even a study done in Europe recently that monitored results for people who prayed and those who didn’t.  It made no difference.

I was going to say, “At worst, prayer is a selfish act”.  Then I remembered another news story that demonstrates it can be worse.  If any of you are thinking praying can’t do any harm, think again.  Remember the story of the girl who died because her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to a doctor?

If you want to help someone or extend your good wishes, do it in the real world.  Send them a card or letter.  Phone them.  Tell them face to face.  Take them to the hospital or feed them.  Contribute to a fund or charity (one that does practical things rather than convert people and pray for them).  You might just give them a little comfort, rather than yourself.  You might even save their life.  Praying won’t.

About these ads

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to “Life by Proxy”

  1. the chaplain Says:

    At best, praying for someone is extending good wishes and hopes by proxy, albeit an imaginary one. But, why channel good wishes through a third party? Why not give them directly? It expresses the sentiment you feel and, ultimately, is more sincere.

    Prayer could actually be seen as a selfish act. It makes the person praying feel better.

    That says it all, right there. Christians pray about stuff to feel like they’re doing something about it rather than, you know, getting off their butts and doing something about it.

  2. paulmct Says:

    Sounds about right. Thanks, Chaplain.

  3. romi41 Says:

    This is refreshing to read….I perscribe to the “don’t be a jerkface” theory of life, and I try to root that in “action” as much as possible…(oh, and sometimes I AM a jerkface, but this is not an exact science ;-) )

  4. paulmct Says:

    Glad I could refresh you with my truth lemonade, made with real truth.

    You, Romi? A jerkface? Surely not? What makes you think that?

  5. Aquaria Says:

    Prayer could actually be seen as a selfish act. It makes the person praying feel better.

    Mostly because they think they’re making other people think they’re doing something…

  6. paulmct Says:

    Could be…

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: