This is the latest installment in our ‘Candles, Cakes, and Prayers’ reflection series. For previous entries, go here.
As we talked about a few weeks ago, the reason many people have so little faith in prayer is the absence of results. We may read in the scriptures that God hears our prayers and is fully aware of our needs, however, with every need that we see go unaddressed or unanswered we lose hope in the process, simply because we have yet to see results. While our first post concerned the doubt that anyone was at the receiving end of our prayers, this final point of doubt emanates from the perception that the figure at the receiving end exists, but doesn’t care or love.
As answers to our requests fail to appear, resentment toward this “God of Love” grows. When we don’t get answers we feel un-Loved, even foolish. As we see or hear of others receiving answers to their prayers, externally no different than the ones we offered, we may develop a suspicion of “favoritism” in regards to God and his “answers.” The, “why not me?” question brings everything we once believed about God into question.
This is where we start to see the world in terms of “favorite children,” whose wishes are granted, versus “the other children,” who get nothing back. We begin to judge God, and eventually to absent ourselves from the dialogue of prayer altogether. Due to the absence of results and the absence of “answers,” we can feel completely suspicious and bitter toward the act of prayer in general. In the place of peace and clarity that prayer is supposed to provide are doubt, suspicion and anger. Prayers made from this perspective become nothing more than birthday wishes, without the appeal of delicious cake to follow.