Prayers of Futility

I start to pray and stop myself. Why bother? It’s not like God’s going to do anything for me. Give me something I need or a blessing or favor. I’ll ask and just be more bitter for the asking.

I’m not a genie in the sky. I don’t exist to grant wishes and manipulate outcomes to your liking.

I get that and it’s fine. But you don’t even offer comfort. A little comfort. Is that really too much to ask?

Do you want a friend who only comes to you when she wants someone to listen to her cry? Again? You know the answers. You know how to care for yourself. You’re going to be OK.

I used to pray to worship you. To tell you how wonderful you were. To tell you how much I wanted you. That’s all I really want is you.

I’m right here with you.

Right. Here in this messy garage. With a cold, rainy wind coming in. And there’s nothing special. There’s no joy. It’s just normal but now I know you’re here in the normal. Only it doesn’t change anything. I don’t understand. What difference does it make if you’re here or you’re not here? It’s all the same. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with you anymore.

It takes awhile to work it out.

*Snort.* Of course it does. I’m going inside. The kitchen floor needs washing.

I know. I’ll be there.

(Picture credit ASBO Jesus.)

10 thoughts on “Prayers of Futility

  1. When Jesus was going around curing people, he’d sometimes say, “Your faith has made you well.” He didn’t tell people, “I’m not going to do a damn thing for you; everything is just fine; now live with it!” He found people who believed that God could/would heal whatever they needed fixed; and they got better.

    Sometimes the hardest thing for people to believe is that their afflictions can and should get better. Another hard concept is that it’s okay to ask…

    1. For a long time the widow who harassed the judge until he gave her what she asked for kept my asking one more time. I’ve given up. I take it on faith that God cares about me. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

      1. Okay, God cares about you. You don’t “take it on faith;” you know it; and that flavor of ‘knowing’ is what Jesus meant by ‘faith.’ Maybe Paul knew too; maybe not.

        The gospel writers were a little too reverent to catch the irony sometimes: “Do you really think God needs you to nag, explain your side of it, pester Him for results?”

        But so far as ‘faith’ is like ‘a sense,’ what you ‘see’ with it is open to interpretation and misinterpretation. You can trust your vision for information like “I can step over there, but I could get a nasty fall climbing on that!’ For conclusions like “The vertical line is longer than the horizontal one,” it’s not always accurate.

        “God cares about me” is certainly true. All right, but you feel afflicted. Can you open-mindedly ask things like, “What did I need this for? Are we there yet? — Haven’t I paid my dues to Poorsoul Solidarity, gave at all my orifices? — What am I supposed to do about it!?”

        I don’t think prayer is about ‘telling God what to do’ or about ‘saying “Pretty please?” ‘. But we are supposed to do it, and results result…

  2. It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are. Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself with nothing but understanding, but if it would only take the trouble to understand itself at the same time it would simply have to posit the paradox. –Soren Kierkegaard

    The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. –Soren Kierkegaard


    I asked God for strength, that I might achieve…
    I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

    I asked for health, that I might do greater things…
    I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

    I asked for riches, that I might be happy…
    I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

    I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men…
    I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.

    I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life…
    I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

    I got nothing that I asked for…
    But everything that I had hoped for.

  3. yup, that could have been a script from my life too. In times like that i ask myself what am i doing that might be hindering God’s blessing in my life, like is there something that i am doing that is stopping the flow. I reassure myself with scripture and “know” that, yes, God wants to bless me and has a good plan for me, whatever that may be.
    For a long time i was lonely, and poor financially. He showed me i was making bad relationship choices and had quite a strong poverty mindset too. I began to deal with this.
    Things began to change. It took time, a lot of patience and the occasional emotional breakdown. I was given encouragement along the way with prophecies from folk, which were so encouraging, but i was thinking ” I need this now, when is it going to happen?”
    Well, its happening now, feel like i have my hearts desire now. He sorted everything out, a big mess. Taken 10 yrs altogether. But, all through it i just kept doing the right thing, and doing the right thing, and doing the right thing and trusting. Then i began to “know”, and i knew i was going to be alright…….and it still took a few years in that state of “knowing” for it all to come to pass 😉 A lot of years of refining but i knew it would take even longer if i gave up and pulled away. I wanted the blessing. I was brutally honest with God, held nothing back. And He revealed a bit more of himself, i know he loves me. and he just loves you too. You are awesome! Love your posts x

  4. Since you wrote this, I’ve been busy with puzzlements of my own. Understanding quite well that God is not indifferent, neither does God necessarily Have It All Planned Out. It’s more like: God can see more moves ahead than I can, plus knows which goodies will work to my true good, vs which ones would leave me with psychic indigestion…

    You don’t want your children to run around acting totally apeshit-crazy; neither do you want them growing up as perfect robochildren. Having them develop into good adult human beings, without too many wounds, scars, limps — would be best — but there’s no mechanical blueprint for that result, just some mixture of taking care so far as that’s possible, while also needing to avoid stifling them…

    So if this metaphor: that We are God’s children — illuminates this situation, then one thing we need to do for God is to be children. We aren’t God’s employees. It might be simpler to be His slaves, as some very good people have thought of themselves — but that isn’t what we want from our children, neither do I think it’s what God wants from us. (I’m not sure that the right model for this really existed in the ancient world…)

    I think the need to pray… is based on the need to talk. Not the need to explain anything that God doesnt’ get, or beg for anything God wouldn’t want us to have… but the need to be ‘in conversation.’ What I want (or think I want) does belong on the agenda; but these aren’t negotiations or briefing sessions… Instead — what?!!!

    Hmmm, there’s this Being who’s been aware of me from as long as I’ve been remembering (probably longer), seen everything good or bad, and why — yet still loves me like a mother (ideally) is supposed to. Maybe I’ve been ignoring that Person too much too long?

      1. Passion is a Gift; intense doubt & faith drive one to breakthroughs…

        Keep after that elusive Divinity… It’s your own bedroom window you’re trying to sneak into…

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