Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered that prayer didn’t have to be so confusing or disheartening since a lot of our prayers are not answered?
- Prayer isn’t as complicated when we understand the challenges of running a universe where there is freedom and God has the interest of all in mind. God can’t just disrespect freedom by controlling the world as God wants. God can’t make one be a better parent if they have no desire to change. God can’t answer the prayer for both people asking for the same job. We may have to trust a loving God answers how we would if we knew everything God knows.
- Since God doesn’t speak audibly or write in the sand, how can we know that we hear the voice of God? God’s love is supportive not controlling. If God has determined the future or knows the unknowable future, we are not really free to make any other choice. Asking God for guarantees is asking God to be a controller. God’s interference stops growth and self-satisfaction resulting from making independent choices.
- God is always supporting and listening. God is always available in times of loneliness. Friends can’t always be available in the middle of the night, or we may feel that we are overburdening our friends. God speaks to us mostly through self-reflection as God only wants us to feel free to make decisions based on our gifts and aspirations. Only controlling parents insist on certain dreams. God only has moral biases for our best interests. God is speaking when we hear: I love you; I forgive you; I won’t abandon you; I want what you want deep down; I am not really like what some say.
- I have seen many come away confused and disheartened about their relationship with their Creator since miracles are rare. I am not trying to get God off the hook but one must admit miracles aren’t as great as they always seem. You may want to reread the Old Testament if you think amazing miracles lead to inspired living. Jesus’ miracles turned heads but Jesus’ suffering turned the hearts of billions of followers. Miracles often lead to seeking only physical cures and not spiritual cures. When suffering I ask for relief but I ask God to stay close to me if a miracle is not possible all things considered. I am a better person in the long-run sometimes because my prayers are not answered. We can pray for others but God is already doing all they can. Are we?
- We may overlook the most important reason for praying which is relational. God already knows what we think or need. Praying to God connects us to our Creator so we may become more the people we desire to be. We tell our children to associate with the right people so to make wiser choices. We may begin to want money to not starve as opposed to wanting to be rich or have things. Prayer is more talking to gain support than manipulating for gain. God is always available to talk about anything on our heart but we might best leave the running of the universe up to a loving God who has the interest of all in mind.
One may ask thought what does the Bible say though? Verses are lifted out of context to support the false prosperity gospel. Mt 7:7 is a representative example: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” The context is saying if we parents give good gifts despite our imperfections, will not God as our perfect Parent always give good gifts when asked. First-century readers didn’t assume this was a blank check for any request. God is always listening, supportive, and respecting freedom as God seek to make for a better world by individuals becoming the kinds of people we deep down desire to be.