Sunday, June 30, 2013

5 Stupid Things To Pray For

I usually choose the church I go to based on their sign making me mad.  This week was no different.

Walking in, some nice child held the door for me.  I presume he was the son of the greeter who shook my hand as soon as I got through the door.  It wasn't creepy at all...

Some guy in a suit and a name tag did the same to me around the corner.  That's when I figured out I was at a church small enough that my mere presence was enough to stand out.  Glad I figured that out before noticing the weird looks I was getting.

The pastor began by talking about the "Friendship Pad", booklets place around the place for people to give their contact information.  It's an innocuous thing to do, but something about it felt off.  Maybe it was the name.  Maybe it was the fact that I was already feeling creeped out more so than usual.  Maybe it was the fact that he asked for contact information immediately after asking for money (for some trip their youth group is taking).

Not finished yet, he went onto what felt like was going tk be another request for money.  He talked about our local police and how they could use our support.  But no, the baskets he mentioned weren't to put money in for the police.  They have prayer cards.  "What better way to protect the protectors than to pray for them?"  Money.  Money is more effective than prayer[1].

Then it was time to bring up the kids.  They always have to bring up the kids.  It made the previous creepiness feel so innocuous.  The preacher man was holding a pair of shoes.  He was making some point about the shoes not being what makes us run fast.  It's practice.  And the kids are practicing to be "children of God".  Just being Christian isn't enough.  They have to practice.  To train.  In other words, they have to keep reminding themselves to believe the specific indoctrination of their church.  Otherwise, they might realize it's all bullshit[2].

Back to the music again.  The band is 3 teenage girls (who need work on their harmonizing) and a grown man with a guitar.  I'm sure nothing shady[3] is going on there.

Then to another staple of church.  The offering.  As I was sitting alone in the back row, the usher had already seen that I wasn't that invested in the service, instead writing the earlier parts of this post on my phone.  Then they went to the front to take people's money.  For the church not our local police.

It was mildly amusing to wonder what he was going to do when he got back to me.  He ended up halfheartedly trying to pass me the plate before giving up.

The sermon began with a statement that "We don't know when Jesus will return, but we know it will be in a time like this.  A time of confusion."  Subtle, but he's essentially saying the same thing as they said outright at Gospel Satellite Church[4].

He told them to pray for the Lord's return.  I wonder how many in this crowd realize they were just instructed to pray for Armageddon.  Never have I been more glad that prayer doesn't work[5].

In addition to praying for the goddamn Rapture, he told them to pray for a list of 5 things.

1.  "Pray for everyone."  He specifically mentioned their friends with the sniffles.  He actually said "the sniffles".  Apparently the sniffles are worth the time of the creator of everything.  Don't they think he created the sniffles too?  But whatever, I was just curious how he was going to finish the list after putting everyone on it on the first step.

2.  "Pray for those in authority."  I'm sure the guy in authority telling them to pray for those in authority did so for completely altruistic reasons.

3.  "Pray for your President."  I wonder if the guy whose truck I saw in the parking lot, with the NObama sticker, will pray for the President.

4.  "Pray for your country."  By then, two immigrants from Africa  had come in and sat next to me.  I wonder which country he thinks they should pray for.

Rambling about prayer, the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln, he mentioned that Lincoln started the National Day of Prayer.  Then he gave it credit for ending the Civil War.  Not Generals Grant & Sherman.  Not the thousands of soldiers who died.  The National Day of Prayer ended the Civil War.

5.  "Pray for the conversion of the lost".  I guess I was happy to get a mention, but he apparently doesn't realize that it doesn't work that way.  Prayer won't make me a believer.

"Lord, we know only through you can things change," is how he segued into the prayer requests from the congregation.

Among  the pray requests was one for Fred Wilson, a survivor of the Vonn Maur shooting, who lost everything in a fire[7].  Not a single mention by this crowd of actually helping him.  Just prayer.  The article about him mentions that his own church[8] might help him "when he's ready", but I was unable to find any tangible efforts so far.

Also in the prayer requests was a request to "sing 'God Bless America' because we're a Christian nation", which they did immediately after finishing reading the prayer requests.

They then finished out by singing "10,000 Reasons", referring to reasons to believe and love their god.  Funny, I just need one.  He's not real.

Although, I can easily find more.  Like the fact that believing makes you think you're helping the survivor of a shooting and a fire by merely praying for him.  I can appreciate that prayer often makes people feel better when they're doing it.  But that doesn't even come close to making up for how much I hate that it makes people think they're helping when they're not.



  1. I imagine by "pray for the president" it means pray for him to become a Republican.

    1. Yup. Or to be less Muslim. He said "whether you voted for him or not" enough to make it pretty clear.

  2. I have read a few of these posts so far. Do you ever get angry?

    I feel a little bit of anger reading these things, but I mostly feel sadness.

    1. Of course. There's plenty to be angry about.

      The trick is not letting the angry control you and instead letting it motivate.