- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
Should We Stop Prayer When We Suffer? Is There A Reason For Praying?
Prayer and Loss
Most Christians will say that the definition of prayer is talking to God, or asking God for help. Others will say it is a type of communication with the divine, or angel, or someone. In this case that someone is God. However, when there is loss, such as a death of a child or of a loved one, the first person whom we stop talking with is God. Is it the anger of loss of time or questions that simply won't be answered that fuels our anger?
We Question. We talk with counsellors and friends, and yet what we used to do before we don't do--- prayer. In fact when we stop praying it develops in to a chain reaction, God hates us and abandoned us, and since he has done so, we feel justified to stop communicating to God.
We prayed for the "halting" of the pain of loss or of rejection- even if it is to angels. We pray that the person finds comfort and peace. Then the "unthinkable" happens, they still leave or die or something equally as horrible. We don't conceive that this was what was best for the other person, it is not best for us. Death, death is a cruel beast.
One of the first things most people in such a situation do is get angry-- usually at God. Then they ask why, and with no "real" answers forthcoming, they get madder, and more angry and stop praying. They feel loss, and pain and anger, and try to find one hundred ways or more to repair other relationships, or in worst cases through misunderstandings, break them.
Still they might refuse to speak to God, in essence they have lost prayer. Some might ask it is such a great loss?
In one word: Yes. But not so fast, yes isn't as easy as you might think.
Prayer and Christians Does It Mean a Build Up of Faith?
As Christians we are supposed to care for one another and love them in good time and in bad times. Often we open our mouths to say words of comfort, and simply destroy the other person's faith. Everyone has the right to be angry with God, but no one has the right to tell them that they shouldn't. Often prayer is simply a type of therapy for the person, since they do not have to spend money to pay for it. Some will argue they can work things out better this way.
The Bad times often resonant longer and stronger than the good. In fact in bad times they also seem a lot more stressful and longer than any good time. a dark void, a pain and fog, anything and everything that you don't want to talk about or deal with.
To give an example from my own experience: when my infant son died, someone, in a vain effort to comfort me say "When I saw him so sick and feeble i prayed he would die. he's not suffering anymore." what resonated the most with me at the time? The fact that he was not suffering or the the fact that they prayed for him to die?
If you guessed the second part of the statement they made to me, then you are correct, if they prayed for him to die, why should i pray to God? In fact what would make me want to pray to God after such a death and loss. Something that affected me both emotionally and mentally and spiritually. It was no big loss-- at least to this person. I found other things, worse in the end. I stopped my writing, stopped going to the theater, and stopped enjoying friendships. Mostly, I stopped praying.
To punish God was my reasoning. In fact i was holding my anger inside.
Or was it? I think I punished myself more by not praying, as I lost that last bit of faith. It was my pastor who guided me. This guidance, or council, was what made me understand that grief is something very personal and something that takes as long as it takes. You will need to get up and work and make it better, and for some this means you pray. For others it means working on dealing with grief in a better manner, but not with prayer.
I also learned a lot about loss in this way, people without a relationship to God seem smaller more absorbed in themselves. They have lost something, and they won't or can't admit that they have.
They search for meaning, or allow themselves to lose the thing that gave them meaning, in short with the loss of prayer the people suffer, something must fill the void.
In short as hard as it may seem it is important not to lose prayer when we suffer. Whatever happens it is of value to pray no matter what even if you are mad or hurt and angry. Suffering is not nice or pleasant but it builds you if you allow yourself to be built back up, but it is something you can do without the help of God.
Is The Loss of Prayer A Void?
Prayer is a Means of Comfort?
Is prayer a means of comfort when people face hard times, or are they simply to "talk it out"?
In many ways when there is hard times most people do one of two things: they pray or they avoid God. Each choice is a choice and it can be very personal. To allow yourself to be angry and "duke it out wit God" is also a good thing, and it is less expensive than seeing a therapist in troubled times.
I think if it is a "bigger" thing, then people will pray. If it is smaller-- say a death of a family member, than they avoid. This seems to be the way of how people deal with grief. They need the time to question.
People, when huge disasters strike do not like to hear it was God's will-- rather they want answers to why bad things happen. The simple fact is that bad things do happen to people, rich and poor. What they want is that answer of it will not happen again.
This is what most want. What I wanted was answers, but it took a long time to get the answers I got which was continue on living and make peace with the fact that bad things do happen and that it is a part of growth and life.