In 1969, the Doors recorded and released what would become their least popular album, The Soft Parade. On the title track, and one of my favourite compositions I may add, Jim Morrison examines the proposition that you can petition the Lord with prayer. If you listen to the anger and angst in his voice which ultimately becomes a bomb of a primal scream, you will glimpse at the truth, that you simply cannot petition the Lord with prayer.
This is not going to evolve into a sermon, or some kind of religious exploration of dogmatic faith formation. I do not intend, nor do I have any desire to convert you or validate your beliefs. cBecause when I started these musings over half a year ago, I promised myself to write with absolute freedom and explore anything and everything that entered my mind.
Please note: if a discussion of prayer offends you, or makes you uncomfortable, I highly recommend my blog post on nudity and porn.
Ok. Back to baby.
Soren Kierkegaard had the following things to say about prayer:
“The function of prayer is not to influence God,
but rather to change the nature of the one who prays”.
It bugs me when people instinctively and haphazardly tell others that they are sending their love, thoughts, and prayers. How the hell does one do that? I am certain that those are empty words that signify absolutely nothing. It’s like signing your name to some sentimental writing on a Hallmark card, which doesn’t really say anything, and finds itself in the recycling bin, shortly thereafter.
The function of prayer is not to influence God. Our sad tears, decisive moans and groans, threats, pleas, and empty promises to change, to never be hungover again, are not going to subvert love or the laws that govern us.
As dignified as we are, we are no more and certainly no less important than anyone else.
You cannot prepay your way into heaven.
Prayer is not a thing to do. It is not a thing at all. It is a state of being, not a state of doing. It is either something that you are, authentically and expressively, or you are just an ignorant fool.
The whole purpose of prayer is to gain insight into who we are, so that we can have the courage and gumption to change.
Prayer helps you to leap.
It takes the things that confuse and confound us, and brings us into a state of faith and trust. It is the road map that help us to evolve. A way to become fully human, fully alive. And when we begin to move forward and evolve, by doing the things we have never done before, living lives we have never lived before, God, or the Universe if you will, sends us what we need, so that we can sneak our way into Heaven. So we can experience happiness and steal us a little bit of joy from up top.
Prayer is not a petition.
Kneeling in pain to pray when all hell seems to break loose, or when someone gets hurt or even dies, is not very prudent.
Why not pray and change when things are good? Why not be like Job? Despite being where find yourself at this moment, you crawl your way towards a state of gratitude.
Why not say a little prayer? It is nothing more than a means to communicate with everything. Why not be grateful for the things we have, the things we’ve learned, the things we’ve tasted and experienced. Why not say a little thank you for all the people that we have gathered on our little thin raft?
The Dutch philosopher was right.
Never pray to change God or the situation you are in. Pray for the strength and the courage to leap, so you may find yourself in a new situation all together.
If you pray. You will find the courage to leap.
If you leap. You won’t crash.
Maybe the great religions of the world aren’t crazy. Maybe they are onto something.
In either case.