Have you ever thought about just how silly and religious Christian’s prayers are?
Christians hate to be told that Christianity is religion but prayer itself is the ultimate religious ritual which is conducted very religiously often at certain times of the day. Sometimes it involves getting down on your knees or putting your hands together. It just about always involves closing your eyes. It will be used as a ritual at meal times and at the beginning and end of Christian gatherings. These types of prayers generally have less and less meaning and become more and more ritualistic the more you do it, especially if it’s a meal time prayer.
And what is it with saying “Amen” at the end? Is it a little like saying “over and out” on a walkie talkie so that God knows we’re done talking to him?
Apparently when you say “Amen” at the end of a prayer it means you’re agreeing with what’s just been prayed. I can understand saying it when someone else has prayed, but why would you agree with yourself? Isn’t that a form of madness or even narcissism? Similar to liking your own posts on Facebook?
The whole concept of praying to Jesus is dubious at best. Supposedly he knows everything we need and supplies all our needs without prayer, so it really necessary? Also if we can only pray according to God’s will, then there’s nothing we can possibly do that’s going to influence him in any way shape or form.
Then there’s the whole aspect of asking for things that we shouldn’t be asking for. Like is it ok to ask for advantages over fellow human beings or expecting God to violate people’s freewill? Or what about to aid us when it comes to examinations or even sports? Isn’t that actually cheating?
One of the most famous prayers is of course the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus Christ himself endorsed as the ideal prayer. Let’s take a look at it…
“Our Father who art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, they will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever, Amen.”
So starting with the first line. “Our Father who art in Heaven.” I’m taking it that God isn’t actually aware of where he is, so needs to be told? And what does that mean anyway? Are we to presume that God is up in the sky somewhere? Yet according to the bible he is omnipresent. He’s everywhere, so why would we say he is in Heaven when he’s all around us? Surely Jesus knew, when he came up with this prayer that his father/he himself, was omnipresent?
“Hallowed be thy name” Do we really need to acknowledge this? Does God not actually know that he’s holy so we need to tell him? And it’s not simply him that’s holy either, it’s just his name that’s holy. Presuming that God is aware of how holy his name is, it must a be a bit of ego boosting that’s necessary here in the hope that if we butter him up enough, he’ll listen to our demands… and let’s face it, this prayer is a list of demands. Nowhere is the word “Please” being used.
“They Kingdom Come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” This line here is rather redundant when you really think about it. Of course God’s kingdom is going to come, otherwise he wouldn’t be much of a god. There’s no need to state this or even ask for it to happen. If God’s will can’t be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, then there’s nothing we as the human can do about it. Stating it is not going to make an ounce of difference.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Here comes the first demand. If I asked my mother for a piece of bread and didn’t tag a “please” on the end, I’d be growled at. Yes, I know this is not talking about literal bread, but why would we think it’s ok to make demands of the almighty without use of good manners? Anyway, if it’s not his will that we get daily bread, then there’s no point in asking for it.
“Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” This is a rather presumptuous part of the prayer. Jesus tells us we should be praying this, but what if we haven’t forgiven someone? That would mean we would be lying to God! Should we alter this line if we are harbouring unforgiveness? Should we pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us… except for Joe Bloggs who is a complete and utter bastard.”? Or maybe it’s better just to leave the last part out and pray “Forgive us our sins, big fellow!”
“Lead us not into temptation…” Now there’s a disturbing line in the prayer. Are we actually admitting here that God himself leads us into temptation? Can that really be so? Yet this is what Jesus says we should pray, so he must surely know what he’s talking about. God leads us into temptation. So we have to ask him nicely… I mean demand that he doesn’t stoop to such levels and actually gives us a fair go. ‘God, quit leading me into temptation. Be a real God please and just keep the temptation away from me.’
Perhaps what this line is actually saying is don’t put us through tests. However is that really something we should be asking… I mean ordering God to do? Isn’t our life one big test which we are supposed to endure? Surely asking God not to test us is really just asking him to make life easy for us. I somehow can’t see God being that kind to us.
“Deliver us from evil.” Well if we’re praying to a God who has no trouble leading us into temptation, then what makes us think he’s going to deliver us from evil? If he was going to deliver us from evil he would have got rid of Satan long ago. Even better never created him in the first place. So considering it was actually God who created all the evil and let that evil run rampant, we should really be praying: “Deliver us from yourself God, from your wrath and your evil creations.”
“For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever”. Wow, Jesus goes one step up with this particular prayer by not only buttering up the almighty at the beginning of the prayer, but at the end too. Feeding that gigantic ego with yet more praise must surely be intended to influence him to do something about the list of demands.
“Amen.” Yep. You have to agree with yourself again. Even Jesus felt he had to agree with himself, but I guess you can understand that when he’s supposed to be God in three persons.
The Lord’s Prayer is most definitely inane and you’d think the son of God himself, would have come up with something better, but no that’s the best he could do. But I guess his prayer isn’t as religious as some of the prayers you hear in churches.
Notice how often Christians put the word “Just” into the prayer.
‘Oh lord, we pray that you would just allow your holy spirit to move amongst us tonight. We pray that you would just minister to those in need and that you would just fill them with a sense of your presence.’
Exactly how many things do people want Jesus to just do?
Another thing is the very distracting habit of addressing Jesus or God by one of his names every few seconds.
‘Oh lord, we pray that you would allow your holy spirit, father God, to move amongst us tonight, father God. We pray, Oh lord, that you would minister, Lord God, to those in need and that you would fill them, lord God, with a sense of your presence, father God.’
This is no exaggeration! Listen to Christian’s prayers and you will hear it all the time. Just how many times does his name need to be mentioned in a prayer? Imagine this conversation and how ridiculous it would sound if done in reality. Let’s have Frank talking to Joe.
‘Hey Joe, it’s good to see you, Joe. I’m wondering Joe if you wouldn’t like to come along to my place tonight, Joe for a couple of beers, Joe. We could, Joe, watch the rugby game on TV, Joe.’
How absurd that conversation would be, yet with many Christians this is how they talk to God. It’s as if maybe they think God has Attention Deficit Disorder and needs his name used over and over just to make sure he’s focussed. ‘Hey God, listen up. No, don’t fidget, pay attention! Listen to what I’m saying God! Do I have to repeat myself to you??’
One of the worst things about Christian’s prayer, is the habit of using old-fashioned English.
‘Oh lord, we pray that thou wouldst allow thy holy spirit to move amongst us tonight. We pray that thou wouldst minister to those in need and that thou wouldst fill them with a sense of thy presence.’
I have seen the same thing when it comes to Christians giving words of wisdom from God, speaking in that same archaic English as if it’s somehow going to make their words sound more authentic rather than just made up from their own over active imaginations. What are Christians trying to prove here? Are they trying to make out they are somehow more pious than everyone else? Do they think that God speaks in archaic English and that should do the same? Who are they trying to kid?
Imagine if you put all these three religious ways of praying together and what you would have…
‘Oh lord, we pray that thou wouldst just allow thy holy spirit, father God, to move amongst us tonight, father God. We pray, Oh lord, that thou wouldst just minister, Lord God, to those in need and thou wouldst just fill them, lord God, with a sense of thy presence, father God.’
To the average Christian this prayer probably seems ok because they are used to people praying like this. When you really think about it though, it’s quite ridiculous. And let’s face it, so is prayer in general.