Prayer: The Ultimate Excuse

March 13, 2011
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We’ve all seen it happen before. A disaster of great magnitude strikes causing nearly incomprehensible destruction. Images of suffering and devastation are everywhere. We can’t take our eyes off the scene. Everyone watches feeling the utmost sympathy for the poor people affected while also feeling so lucky that they themselves weren’t harmed. We go through this countless times and each time when we ask what can we do, we get the same response.

Pray to god and he’ll make it better. Is that true? Is prayer really the best thing we can do in a situation such as this? Do we really believe that praying is the only thing we can do for those who are suffering? OR, do we simply feel helpless, maybe even a little apathetic and use prayer simply to say, “I did something.” Prayer is the ultimate quick fix to the morale dilemma between our own selfishness and our strong sense of compassion. When it seems like there is nothing we can do, we use prayer so as to feel like we are helping. We use it as a crutch to pardon ourselves from our own laziness. When a hurricane strikes, sure we could have a fundraiser, or we could just lie in bed and ask god to do something. It’s like we are taking the burden off ourselves and delegating the task to someone else to deal with. We’re shirking off our own responsibility of aiding our fellow humans, but we avoid any guilt because praying makes us feel like we have done something.
The truth is, whether you are religious or not, you cannot deny that many people use prayer as an excuse, a way of getting out of actually helping. My point is not to degrade the power of prayer. It is simply to chastise the way it is so often used to excuse oneself from further action. There is so much that any person can do to help those in need. All it takes is a little effort on your own part. I challenge you to go beyond prayer, to take action, to do something. Don’t be sucked into the course of guiltless inaction we call prayer.

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Treefiddy said...
Apr. 8, 2011 at 2:17 am
Did you know that religious C.hristians and J.ews give more of their time and money (including blood) to charity than do secular people? I find the argument you're making idiotic. Can I not chew bubble gum and walk at the same time? I can pray for the injustices in the world and dedicate my efforts to work toward bettering my community. It is the secular nations which overwhelmingly embrace the give-me mentality. It breeds a moral cowardace in people. Secular people are much more willing to acce... (more »)
elenam112 replied...
Apr. 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm
I think you are slightly confused. The point of this was not to say people who aren't religious help others more. It was just saying too many people pray half heartedly so as to justify not taking action. I understand that religious groups do a tremendous amount of work towards helping others. I'm only referring to those who don't help others, but claim its ok because they pray. I am not generalizing about all religious people in the way you are about all unreligious people. I would like to make... (more »)
MadMouse said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm
I like this piece. I kind of agree with it, and I kind of don't. I mean, we are supposed to ask God to take our burdens. It'd be pointless if he died a horrible death so that he could bear our sins, and then we don't give our burdens to Him. I do agree with you somewhat on the insincerity part. Yeah, alot of people pray and don't do anything. Just do both. Pray for what you're doing.
contemplater said...
Apr. 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm
When I read the title, I assumed that I probably wouldnt agree with it. Something I dont agree with. The only thing a lot of people can do is pray. Prayer for the welfare of the devasted, and success of recovery. I think that mabye some people who are fundraising should pray more often.
OneBlackGirl said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm
I kinda agree with you (I think), but what we're really supposed to do is pray for the success of what we're doing. For example, you mentioned doing a fundraiser. We're supposed to pray for the success of our fundraiser.
elenam112 replied...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 10:44 pm
Good point. I think its fine if you take action and then pray that your actions are successful. However, a lot of people only pray and don't do anything else because they feel like they don't need to and I don't think thats right.
K.a.t.h.l.e.e.n. said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm
As a Christisn, I do not believe prayer should be used as an excuse for not lending a hand. In my parish, it is not used as a crutch. We donate time, money, and supplies to the needy in our community. Prayer is used as reinforcement to our efforts. You say "we" and "everyone" is being lazy and inconsiderate, but this is not true. Many of us are doing what we can to make things right! I think in order to improve your article, include examples of how Christians are helping out and how the r... (more »)
HisPurePrincess This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

You shouldn't pray if it means nothing to you.  If it's just an excuse, then don't bother.  God doesn't want to hear from a whiner or coward.  But if it's a conversation between a Father and his child, then that's an act of worship.  And when I'm desperate, I will avoid praying, because I hate having to take responsibility for my own choices and mistakes.  But when i open up to God, his arms are always wide.  Have you ever asked God for peace?  I have.  ... (more »)

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