Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prayer and God's Favor

I was reading the blog of an atheist pro-life advocate. It was really interesting to see him approach a concept that most people associate with religious beliefs. But on one of his completely unrelated posts he said this:

"I don't understand what the fascination with prayer is. Is it not an arrogant practice? Is it not egotistical to think that I have a personal relationship with the creator of the universe who will give me anything I ask for?"

And I admit, it made me laugh because I identified with it. It certainly isn't true, because God won't give me anything I ask for. But I think I sometimes forget how amazingly wonderful and awesome it is that I can talk to the creator of the universe. It's a shocking truth and I should realize that with every encounter. 

There is a hang up with his thought of egotism. Aren't I awefully proud to say this is true, like someone who is friends with a celebrity and gets invited to walk the red carpet? But I didn't invite myself. He asked me. When the President personally invites you to the White House, you don't refuse.

I suppose he could say that the idea of the President having any clue who you are and inviting you... thinking that is true is thinking too highly of yourself. But that assumes that it is a delusion and not actually true. I could tell people that I was invited to the White House... and you could think I was crazy... as long as it wasn't actually true. 

Aside from his comments I've been working through some issues having to do with how much God loves me. Because, really, He loves me so much. It isn't fair. How come He doesn't seem to love others as much as He loves me? He takes such good care of me. It's insane to think that this is all true... not only can I talk to the creator of the universe but he talks back and sends good things and skiffs of snow in the morning and love. It's like a fairy tale with a princess who doesn't start out beautiful but rather begins as an old witch. But then, as the prince loves her she slowly turns into a princess. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Day God Told me to Pray for a Celebrity

Does God ever ask you to do strange things? Uncomfortable things? Inexplicable things? He does to me. I remember arguing with God in an English class about a goth girl he wanted me to talk to. He didn't really know what he was asking, did he? He didn't realize that this girl wanted nothing to do with this blonde girl dressed in pink and khaki. I remember other instances like that too. But you know, God was always right. So I've gotten in the habit of accepting what he says even if it feels totally off the wall. I thought I'd gotten used to his requests for me to talk to strangers, ask hard questions, and share honestly of my life. Then he told me to pray for Nicki Minaj.

Most of you probably don't have a clue who she is. And honestly, I don't know much either. I watched her briefly as a judge on American Idol and my friend Robin said she might be demon possessed. She's definitely odd with her hats and colored wigs and clamoring for attention. I didn't give her a second thought then. But several days ago I was researching and thinking about freedom and  how the truth sets free and how lies are a prison.  It all makes sense in my head and as I was working through the many facets I came across her song "Freedom" which I cannot recommend because the lyrics are rather explicit.

But her song made me cry. It wasn't supposed to. She didn't write it to do that. Suddenly I had a new vision of this young woman as she sang and rapped. The verses are all about how trapped she is by the expectations of others, by her own pride, by her comparisons of herself to a savior figure. Then the hook is all about how she feels free... she feels freedom. But the melody is so mournful. The combination is heartbreaking. She seems to be grasping for freedom so desperately and yet doesn't know where to find it. I am so blessed to have found true freedom!

And as I pitied her, grieved for her, God said, Why don't you pray for her? And again I was surprised by God's request. It feels silly to pray for someone so far off, so removed from anything in my life. But is it really any different from praying for the President? For foreign rulers? Do I really think that God's arm is so short that he cannot use my prayers in the life of this sad woman? Of course not!

So, I pray. I wait. I wonder if I'll ever see what God is doing in her life, because I have no doubts that he's doing something.