The Prayers Of A Righteous Man…

I am generally against trolling. While I have no problem articulating and arguing my positions with people, I try to avoid intentionally antagonizing people. Now if they choose to bring them their statements to me and tell me what to do, all gloves are off. I also like to leave people to their beliefs. So when I see my born-again, Evangelical minded Christian friends posting about what god did for them or how they are too “blessed to be stressed” or any similar statements, I let them be. There’s no use in raining on someone’s parade. But there is an idea that I keep reading from some of them and I want to explore it here.

So the statement basically goes like this:Yes I have problems and sometimes I have doubts…but I know that Jesus is Lord because I prayed for _____ and received what I asked for. Praise the Lord, God is good! Now when I hear this, the first word that comes to mind is narcissism. There are over seven billion people on this planet, and many of the praying ones receive nothing but silence after they pray. But because you got that job or promotion you wanted, or recovered from an illness, or were reunited with your spouse, you parade this as unassailable proof that 1)one true god exists and 2)the one true god is the one in your holy book and the one you prayed to. Really? What about the millions of people whose prayer requests are not granted? Does your god love you more than them?

I think of history, and all the people that god could not be bothered to listen to and assist when they desperately needed it. I think of my ancestors, enslaved and forcibly converted to Christianity, yearning for freedom. It took god a good three centuries to get around to addressing their desire for freedom(then again the Bible never condemns slavery so maybe god was okay with it). I think of the Orthodox Jews of Eastern Europe-devout and serious worshipers of the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I think of the horrific and sad tale of the massacre at Babi Yar, and how these devout Jews prayed moments before their bodies were shredded by the machine guns of the Einsatzgruppen and thrown into a ravine. Their prayers weren’t answered either. Through six years ‘god’ granted no reprieve even to his ‘chosen people, and six million would eventually be consumed by the Holocaust.

I think of Rwanda from April-June 1994. I think of the Rwandans-devout Roman Catholics-hiding in churches, praying and hoping they would be protected from the violence that had engulfed their country. Their prayers didn’t avail them much. In barely three months nearly a million people would literally be hacked to death with machetes while the world looked on.

I think of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a nation that is over 90% Christian.  Since 2004, over 2.7 million Congolese have died as a result of the conflict in the eastern part of the nation. If we include the casualties from 1998-2003, the number of dead Congolese approaches that of the Holocaust.

I could go on and on with this. Today alone thousands of children across the globe have died from malaria and starvation. The pleas of their parents were unanswered and they will bury their children.  As I write this there are people, Christians all over the world, on their knees crying and begging for  help. They are petitioning god-not for a new car, a job, or any kind of special blessing. They will wail and beg for things that many in the United States take for granted-food, clean water, shelter, medicine, peace and security. And like all the examples I listed above, their prayers will not be answered. But because things are great for you, because god gave you what you desired, it’s all good, right? ‘The Lord works in mysterious ways’, or something like that? It was the will of god for your prayers to be heard and answered while millions of others suffer…

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A native Seattleite and East Coast transplant, I have been interested in politics, religion, and race from the day I saw “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” on the bookshelf belonging to my BFF’s mom back in 1991. While my zealotry has thankfully diminished with maturity, I remain the deep thinking, passionate, and humble woman I have always been.

5 thoughts on “The Prayers Of A Righteous Man…

  1. I think you make a valid point here. If this was what the First Century Christians were clinging to, then they would have given up a long time ago. I mean, they were burned at the stake as human torches, fed to lions, beheaded, etc., and I’m sure they prayed that, if it were possible that it would not happen to them.

    However, I don’t think that you can make the opposite case. That just because something bad happens to someone who prays that proves there is no God. God punished His chosen people, and eliminated whole people groups. He raises up one and puts down another.

    So, can God work in an individual life answering prayer? So far as I can tell, yes. Should we use that as a reason to know that God exists? Part of, but certainly not the most important thing.

  2. I love your second paragraph, I thought of this often when contemplating religion.. How utterly arrogant to think because something good happens to us that it is God, when there are so many people who will never have that and are beautiful people.

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