For the longest time I have believed that prayer was essential to our daily existence. I am not really talking about peaceful meditation or contemplation. I am talking about intercession and requests. I mean, really.
Whenever I saw an ambulance go by, or a car crash, or I heard of a child suffering. I would pray. If someone was sick or having surgery, I would pray hard. Why?
Because we are helpless. We all wish we had a magic wand to wave and make things right. And, the problem I feel now, is that this sense of magic makers is encouraged by the Church. I have not just been a conservative Christian. I was a Charismatic Catholic. Not only did I have spiritual confidence of Charismatic spirituality, I had 2000 years of history of the Catholic Church which reports people levitating, not decaying when they die, raising people from the dead, healing the sick, fighting with spirits, going to hell and back and even..... BI-LOCATING. I mean, really.
Look, I do not blame myself. I was young. I was hopeful. I wanted to believe so strongly! I embraced every extreme reality taught by the Church. It had the Church's seal of approval! The Deposit of Faith.
But for someone like me, and perhaps many more people, it became overwhelming. It was very hard to determine what was "spiritual attack" verses flawed character traits. What was the result of a stupid choice and Satan toying with our family?
I literally saw and sought the hand of God in all things. That was, until I woke up. Literally, my life became almost unmanageable with this light of faith. I thought I had figured it out, God's call for my life! This was definitely it. The peace, the assurance, the good will, it was all there. But, my choice was rejected. The door was shut. This was NOT God's will. Well then, what was this voice, this longing, this inner-peace? Wishful thinking perhaps?
I have a friend who is such a smart and sweet girl. Her parents divorced and her mom raised them in Brooklyn, NY. She got into trouble and did dumb things kids can do. Her mother responded by telling her that she was possessed by the devil and going to hell. Does anyone else see a problem with this? These are the kinds of things Catholic spirituality encourages. Her mother, to be fair, was extreme and unstable. But, this spiritual war is specifically mainstream Catholic doctrine. So, how's one to know?
Back to prayer. Why do we do it? I think we want to have some sense of control over the uncontrollable. There have been scientific studies done to see the result of prayer.
It reminds me of James Randi. Ever heard of him? He has made his career going around exposing fraud and con-artists. Some interesting investigations I have seen involve healers and Christians.
James Randi exposes faith healer
I still am tempted to pray. I still wished it worked. But I've lost my faith. At this point, I see it as goofy and unfounded in reality.
Do you really believe that you can telepathically send messages to an unseen God who can send warrior angels to effect change on a particular situation? Do you see anything odd about this in regards to actual reality?