The Grand Ellipses

I listen patiently when I am waiting for reality to respond. I act impulsively when I have no idea what's going on . . .

"The Grand Ellipses … “? I love that moment when i’m thinking about something, or listening to something and i have that … moment. It’s that pause before you have your realization of clarity. So, i thought that would be a good name for this, to refer to that grand moment when we let our mind settle, let the questions and turbulence stir a bit and allow free thought to reign.

Dear Lord, please give me the strength . . .

John 14:13-14
New King James Version (NKJV)
13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it.
— http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+14%3A13-14&version=NKJV

So, because I read so many apologetic and counter-apologetic articles on my computer, the advertisements are often religious based. We've all seen the Christian dating adds and the online religious education programs. The other day I was reading something and saw an ad for this site: 

http://www.christianprayercenter.com/

The site is full of claims such as: 

Today I received a check from the insurance company handling my workers comp claim for reimbursement of mileage for driving to Dr. appts, pharmacy and physical therapy. Came about 3 days early and was more than enough to pay the rent this week.
I wanted to thank you all for all the prayers you have sent up to our savior. My husband was very sick. I took him in to have surgery. Soon afterwards they came back into the room loudly saying we don’t operate on people who have nothing wrong. He was healed, praise God!

You can scroll through the site to find many more. There are also sections where people are asking for your prayers, of course. That's the whole point of the website, is to spread the "power of prayer". When I was a believer I would pray everyday. I would ask of god all the things that most people would ask of an interventionist deity. I thought that god could do in my life what I could not; that would be a common belief that draws us to theism. Just read that passage in John again. Christ tells us that by asking for anything in his name, he will do it. Now, the apologist will say that your prayers have to be within reason . . . this is where I struggled with this idea. What is within reason? My health? My wealth? My prosperity? Most people would say yes to those. So, what am I to think then, when as a believer, if I would pray to Christ about healing a friend, or my self, and nothing happens? What if I pray for more money, and nothing happens? What if a prayer of mine is "answered", but someone on the other side of the world dies horribly and doesn't have an answered prayer? How is it that we can praise a god for blessing our food and bringing us together, when that god doesn't care to answer the calls of a starving village and feed their children? 

People say they know that prayer works because they've seen it. Prayer does not perform a successful surgery. Prayer does not feed the hungry. Prayer does not make your health better. Prayer does not finish the education you need so that you may prosper. Prayer does not cure mental illness. Prayer is not greater than science and it is not greater than our own will and determination to make things better. There was a study done in 2006 that, I feel, is very telling. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

People will say that god shouldn't be coerced, that's why the study didn't prove it successfully . . . bullshit! Prayer "works" when something we want is successful. When the desired outcome doesn't happen, then we say "god just didn't want the same thing for you that you wanted" or "maybe it's gods way of telling you something". Is he telling you that he doesn't give a shit about you if he doesn't provide you with the basic necessities to eat? Is he telling you that he wants you dead if he doesn't cure the cancer you have? Is he telling you that he wants you to burn in hell if you've been born with a mental deficiency that precludes the possibility of belief? Does god want me to burn in hell because he doesn't answer my mothers prayers to make me believe in him?

The efficacy of prayer should be challenged and god should be coerced.  Songs like the one below may sound pretty and all, and you may even have an overwhelming feeling when you sing that in a group setting. You're spirits may feel lifted. You may feel this shared love with everyone around you. That's the work of music, not god.