cartoon: prayer for me

funny cartoon prayer for me

Yesterday I posted on Twitter and Facebook “I wish prayer worked!” and received quite an overwhelming response that varied between total agreement to theological argument… one of which this cartoon attempts to portray.

Not many people picked up the nuances. Maybe my fault. But I claim that any idea that prayer “works” is magical.

Some people felt sorry for me because they suspected the post emerged out of my own struggle, and for my desperate plea to be met with such platitudinal posturing seemed, well, inappropriate. But I’m used to it. This seems to be the game I have been entered into to play.

And I’ll do my best.

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27 Responses

  1. Matt Oxley says:

    Like I said yesterday on your FB post:

    “Unfortunately it doesn’t; outside of a psychosomatic definition of “work”…it can do some pretty amazing things for the human psyche.”

  2. Sabio Lantz says:

    As I left conservative, evangelical Christianity, many of my friends would hit me up with platitudes and scriptures as if I never had heard of these things. I became an object to them. But as I thought, I wondered if I ever was anything but an object.

    All my friends were people who confessed with vigor that they had a very deep, personal relationship with an invisible Jesus, but they ironically demonstrated that they could not have one with a real person. I was a soteriological object to them.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I love it! lol It works in my life, whatever it’s called..gee, should I stop cause it might be psychosomatic? too funny..maybe ‘they’ should’ve had ME 😉 in that study :D…hmmm, if the study was with a bunch of so called’pychoes’, would it have worked?…lol

  4. Nancy T. says:

    “…and for my desperate plea to be met with such platitudinal posturing…”

    I haven’t read the latest additions to the post, but from where I left off, I do know that some of the people thought it might be indicative of issues you were dealiing with. Some of them, in my opinion, were heartfelt comments of concern. I know mine was.

    It could be that I’m being particularly defensive (one of my more major downfallings) but it seemed a bit harsh to me to make a sweeping statement about how your post was met.

    I’m not saying you should be ‘grateful’ or necessarsily address them, but to my mind from what I read, some qualifier that it was “some”, or “most” of the comments were ‘platitudunal posturing’ seems more accurate. YMMV.

  5. David Waters says:

    me… you… one and the same?

  6. Gary says:

    I have to 2nd Nancy’s comment David. I find it odd that you would find any of the comments “inappropriate”. I may have missed an objectionable one I suppose. But considering the nature of so much of your work (which I love BTW) and your discussions concerning your personal journey (which you have been pretty open about), it would seem that all of the responses (whether they be agreement, rebuttal, or concern) would be appropriate.

  7. marcie says:

    David I would have to agree with nancy and kind of hurt by your comments when for myself felt honest concern. I have found the problems with forums is people often shy away from reaching out to one another in a real way! I didn’t miss your point at all! But thought prayer isn’t a magic wand but only “works” when men stop praying and do great things for one another. That was the heart of my response to you. Your response was quite belittling to be honest if i may

  8. marcie says:

    Really didn’t know that this was a game and there was an “appropriate” response.

  9. Steve Martin says:

    Because we are all in bondage to sin, we all try and curve it all back onto ‘the self’.

    We generally do mean, My will be done and not thy will… .

    More evidence of how much we need a Savior…and not a life coach.

  10. A friend says:

    I could be wrong, but the inappropriateness lies in the heart of assumption. A person makes an open-ended statement on a social networking site and it didn’t take long for people to jump to conclusions.

    And platitudes and scripture quoting is rarely the appropriate response to a person who might be hurting. But it took me leaving the church and the mindset to wake up to that realization; to be able to see how hurtful I was being when I did the very same thing in my past. I understand that when friends and family do it to me, they mean well. But you know what they say about intentions.

  11. Pat says:

    With this post, i think your artistic quirkiness is matched only by your arrogance… sometimes I like that in a person… sometimes it’s just arrogance. you should count this as graffiti on the walls of your website 🙂

  12. Jacquie Kernick says:

    I have to say that I was feeling quite guilty after reading the replies from yesterday as I hadn’t equated the cartoon about prayer as being representative of your faith journey, David…or the struggle.

    I am not sure what to think now….I thought it might be a them and us situation where some of the responders knew you much better than I and so were more tuned in.

    I seem these days to trust intuition and “prayers” are really not directed anywhere or to anyone.

  13. Millard says:

    Prayer works to get us in synch with reality: “God”, people, life itself, and especially our real selves.

    Prayer doesn’t work to control reality: “God”, people, life itself, or even ourselves.

    Maybe “miracles” are just the normal things that people do when they are in synch with reality. “Signs” are for people who are out of synch, which is why they make such a fuss over them.

    The greatest miracles are those that enable us to live happily with those we love, and to love better, and to love more. All the rest is eye candy.

  14. nakedpastor says:

    whether or not it is reflective of my struggle, the responses didn’t bother me… i just find it interesting that there is no lack of information for those who may be struggling… but how useful is that information?

  15. Matt Oxley says:

    @David – as soon as I finish my book there will be a good resource available for you.

  16. Gary says:

    You are a paradox David,

    You have shared much about your past and your personal journey, yet you avoid questions from your readers seeking to understand your heart in some of your work.

    Here you state that some of the comments were “platitudinal posturing” that seemed “inappropriate” to you (which I still find very strange), but then follow that with the statement that “the responses didn’t bother me”.

    Perhaps you don’t wish us to know you well enough to “get it” on any particular post. Part of the nuance may be the mystery I guess.

  17. Matt Oxley says:

    that last comment was meant to say “Good resource for people going through this”

    too many things going on.

  18. Regina says:

    It is a mystery, in the classic sense of mysterium tremendum. If we ask “if” it works, we are on the wrong track. We can’t possible have enough data to answer that question; even the smallest event has too many variables to be verifiable. If we ask “how” it works, we might be able to discern threads of relationships, but not causality. We remain with our arms too short to box with God. We also do not have the slightest idea what it means to have prayer “work.” Well maybe we have the slightest idea, but an incomplete idea at best. I am distrustful of anything that assumes we should “control” God, like praying “hard enough,” or with the correct formula. When I pray for myself, it is always within the context of praying for others, and remembering them before God in love, care, and compassion. When I pray for others, it is always in the context that we are one family, remembering before God our interconnection. That way I keep my mitts off and my compassion clean. That is better for MY soul. What God does with it, is what God does with it, which may be staying with me in compassion. A little thing? No, I believe that is the power of resurrection, and I believe that to be a mighty thing.

  19. James says:

    It’s fascinating how you’re saying all the same things I did on my journey to atheism… does it ever scare you that non-belief may be your final destination?

  20. Sabio Lantz says:

    Ouch, James. I think NP has already shown he is fine with fear and willing to sacrifice security in a huge way — in ways perhaps you have never risked.

    I am also an ex-Christian Atheist, but I still think it is possible to stay religious in a healthy way after purging many of the destructive things NP is undertaking in his many fine posts. I don’t think it has to be all-or-none.

    Give me a healthy, happy, inclusive Christian any day over a destructive Atheist. Likewise, give me a healthy, happy Atheist any day over a destructive Christian.

    You see? We should aim more at healthy, happy, tolerant and other deeper principles before we aim at broad-stroke titles.

  21. James says:

    I think you’ve misunderstood me Sabio, it was never meant to be an ‘ouch’ statement. I wasn’t trying to be nasty, or triumphal. It doesn’t particularly bother me where David ends up, (of course he won’t ‘end up’ anywhere, he’ll be growing and learning right to the end of his life), as long as he’s happy. I was just wondering if he sees his thoughts and feelings leading towards a certain destination, and how that makes him feel. I was asking him in a neutral voice.

    Looking back at my comment I still can’t see how you interpreted it as you did, but I apologise if it came across as negative in anyway, it certainly wasn’t meant to be.

  22. Sabio Lantz says:

    Ah, thanks James. Sorry, yeah, that is the problem with short comments on a blog. We agree.

  23. nakedpastor says:

    Hi James… I never took it as an ouch statement. There is a lot of fears to face, but they must be faced. Even the possibility that everything we believe is a fiction.

  24. marcie says:

    Nice sabio! I agree a hundred percent!

  25. Nancy T. says:

    “… i just find it interesting that there is no lack of information for those who may be struggling… but how useful is that information?”

    There was no way to know if your wish that prayer worked might be related to something personal (I didn’t see it as your “desperate plea”) In that light, I do think some of the comments were platitudes or, worse yet, a taking to task.

    I still find your response strange. It is a public forum, and not everyone knows you well. With only that line to go with, what useful information would you be looking for? Especially as it ‘wasn’t’ a desperate plea for help?

    I can’t speak as to the thoughts of others, but I know that you have friends that you are close to, emotionally and physically, so it didn’t make a lot of sense to me to say anything more than I hope whatever it may be, I hope it resolves itself.

    I don’t think public prying would be the answer either. I suppose I or anyone else could have messaged your privately to enquire further.

    Maybe it’s just a different perspective. It counts a lot for me, when people I know online wish me well, hope that things work out, tell me to hang tough.

    It counts, because they know me, even if it just from posting a bit with scrabble/lexulous friends on Facebook, and they bothered to take the time to notice and respond.

    Sure, there are people I know on Facebook, whose words might ring hollow coming from some people I know. That is why I mentioned that a qualifier would have been nice.

    It still seems odd to me that you would have looked over those comments, and not truly felt that at least some people were concerned that might more going on, and that in some form or other, they hoped it went well.

    I know from what you’ve posted you’ve been through a lot, and you’ve thanked friends and family many times.

    Again, I’m totally open to the idea it is my own defensiveness, subjectivity, etc getting in the way, and apologize for not being more concise. I just still rankle at the idea that everyone that posted was guilty of “such platitudinal posturing”

    *shrugs*…I’m obviously getting to the point of ‘dog with a bone’ and not letting it go. Do with it what you will, but my guess is you might be underestimating what some of the people that posted would do to help out.

  26. joe says:

    Most prayer is just gossip, face facts.

    If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, there is nothing I could possibly say that he doesn’t already know anyway. Saying it in a slightly different voice or in a different place or with different people does not make it more powerful.

    It strikes me that there are some things that I need and some things I don’t need. I need more people who are concerned and interested about me on a deep level. For whom my concerns and worries are their worries too. What I don’t need are people who claim to be interested in me only on the superficial level so that they can get enough information to ‘pray about my issues’ so that they can then ‘help me’.

    First, my issues are so deep-seated that I couldn’t possibly explain them in simple language to you. Second, only the one who knows my heart really knows what I am like. Third, I am not interested in giving you ammunition to a) gossip to others about and b) use as psychological blackmail against me. I don’t need that kind of ‘prayer’ thanks all the same.

  27. nakedpastor says:

    Nancy: Thanks for your comment. I responded on Facebook to someone who had a similar observation and emailed me personally. This is what I wrote on Facebook so I’ll copy it here:

    “I received a thoughtful challenge from someone who commented on this thread. It made me think about how thoughtless and heartless my responses can be to your comments. I wrote this person an apology, and I will share it with all of you:

    “Thanks for your honest message.

    Part of my problem is that I am nakedpastor only part time. I haven’t got the time to always give thoughtful responses to everything. I know that is a problem because I seem to initiate conversations without having the ability to engage them and conclude them. I’m sorry for that.

    Secondly, sometimes I can be very insensitive. That is also partially due to time constraints. But it is also due to the fact that I am not a perfect person, but have weaknesses and can be defensive. Again, I’m sorry for that as well.

    I too hope to be a better person. People like you who take the time to speak meaningfully into my life will help me. I so hope.