Paige Dickerson's Blog

A hope and a prayer

Posted in Books, Religion by voteforjaneausten on August 19, 2011

Thanks to a really good conversation about some Bible things at my writing group on Monday (Thanks, Adam) I have been thinking a whole lot about some really strange topics. I started rereading one of my favorite books “Saving the Appearances” by Owen Barfield. It is a book on religion, God, people and the changes we’ve gone through as a human race with regard to religion. But not on a historical level. More on a mentality level. It is a little esoteric but I love how radical his ideas are without even seeming radical. Some people would probably disagree with him a good deal and more probably would if they really understood what he was saying. But all that is background to my mental state. Haha. I was thinking really hard today about prayer.

I remember praying and prayer lists from the time I was little. There are plenty of people who believe prayer is just a way to make yourself feel better. Or that there is no God so it doesn’t matter. Others believe in a God who is disinterested in our lives or at least “hands off” and others think that every prayer is a letter to Santa asking for more presents. Still others think it is a practice that is good for you soul and that sometimes the answer is no or there is no answer at all. To be honest I’ve been pondering is what is the purpose of prayer. I’m not talking about prayer in a group out loud with other people. I’m talking like a private conversation. Not even the conversation part, but the request part. What is the purpose of a prayer request? (I’m not asking in a hopeless “what is the point of it all” way but more in an intellectual question way.) My whole system of beliefs has changed a great deal since high school. . . and yet in some ways not as much as it would seem. But this is a question I’ve never been able to answer. Even when faithfully praying every night. If you believe that God’s will is going to happen then what is the point in God asking us to ask for it? I’m asking for opinions here not answers. Not trying to convince me or others of the greatness of prayer. Just why does it do any good. Will you change God’s mind? Is it for personal growth?

I know this is super nerdy of me, but I have always loved research and part of me would like to write a research paper about this as I read through one of my favorite books on religion (I almost said theology, but Barfield is almost more than theology.) I think this tendency is why Andy Tyler used to suggest I go to seminary. haha. Input? I know I have plenty of people who don’t believe in any of this, so you guys don’t feel like you have to respond if all it is going to be is putting down religion. I’m asking on a purely intellectual level not on a debate level, please.