Quick Take

Of Prayer and Worry

As you might can imagine, I’ve taken quite a bit of abuse for my lack of theism. I am the one with the absence of faith, therefore, I am the one with the problem. What I fail to see on this side of faith is what I missed when on the other side. I do not see any evidence of the peace that passes all understanding lived out in the lives of those who judge me so harshly.

It seems that the prayer of faith and power should cancel out worry. If anyone should worry, it should be the non-theist who has no magical access to the hidden powers of the universe. No other-worldly being heeds my requests, and bends time and space to fulfill them. I probably have the lowest income of any of my readers, yet, I am seldom worried about the uncertainties of life.

However, I am surrounded by faithful Christians who are constantly fretting and striving and trying to make things happen. They get angry or concerned when things are not going the way they had hoped. I see this in business, church administration, and every other walk of life. They all pray, but seldom have discernible peace. In other words, the talk of prayer and faith seldom translate into anything practical ease of tension, of letting go.

To be clear, I do know of some that buck this trend, and greatly admire them. I also know of many who seem to live a live free of distress who profess not faith at all. These thoughts came to mind, in part, because I found myself in attendance at a bible class where the topic was the power of prayer. I said nothing for the two hours I was there. It has been festering a bit.

During conversation, those same people openly fret over the price of gas, groceries, the lack of work, health, medication, you name it. They do not see the irony of moving so fluidly between prayer and worry. Yet, I am the one with the problem. It is just one of those things that make it hard for me to take religion seriously, or the people who use it to judge those of us who do not practice it.

Christianity would make a much better case for itself if its adherents displayed the practical benefit of their faith by demonstrating peace in the face of turmoil. I simply cannot pour much energy into something that shows no observable, practical benefit. Lord knows I’ve tried.

One last thing. On the other side of religion, I feel more peaceful than I ever did before, I believe the reason is that I am no longer worrying about if I prayed correctly, or when receiving no answer, what I may have done to offend my god. I do the best I can and take life as it comes. I do not worry about that which I cannot control.

How do you stay calm in the face of storms? Sound off in the comments or send me an email.

David Johnson


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