"Yes, I know, I've talked with him, we prayed about it – it's alright"
The condition of Christians is caught up in a world where prayer has turned from process to purchase. Marketing masters have seeped our soul, and our Christian consumption has become satisfied with a commissioned based sales process. Prayer is no longer passionate patience, or a persistent petitioning – it is now the equivalent of using "words" to solve our problems, as sticks and stones break our bones.
To use the vernacular of my workplace – if you are dissatisfied with your current service you can call in to your provider and lodge a complaint. Depending on time of day etc. you may receive a few credits on your account (a few months free, new accessory) – but more often than not, you'll get some rookie who will tell you to suck a lemon.
Faced with this, you can do one of three things:
1) Hang up, call back and hope that you get a better 'agent' – odds are high with enough persistence, either your service will improve, or you'll forget that it was ever a problem.
2) Switch providers – it's easy enough, so long as you're not in a commitment.
3) Cancel service all together
Our reference for suffering is similar to mushy fruit at a produce stand, we expect customer satisfaction or we'll go
elsewhere. And in someway, this is how we have begun to pray.
This is not however a blog post to point out suffering extended – I am frightfully and thankfully aware that I cannot preach about those who wear the white robes of expired promises. Nor am I trying to address the need for patience, I'm not trying to solve the question of every 15 year old - "why does God take longer than a week to answer my prayer...?"
I can only write poorly on that character that I have come across a lot this summer: the concept that a whimsical prayer will make our Ying come back to our Yang. I'm not calling for a reduction in faith – if anything this summer has taught the opposite. I think it's a fleeting cry for an enlargement of what our concept of faith can be – sure it's in response to a frustration to the flippancy in which both I and those around me often approach our problems; but, I think it's something more than just that. To begin a partnership of faith in which prayer is no longer about tossing the marble and hearing it roll down the tin roof of reality – how that looks for me is different than you I'm sure. I guess it's (wow) expecting it to be tough, at least that's what I've felt in the past few weeks – that I expect prayer almost to be part of the battle, it's messy, complicated and not to be checked off the list when 'done.'
So there it is, no 12 point step for effective prayers, but just a realization I guess that I'm peering into a hole and I have no idea how far down the looking glass I really am going.