Joining World Vision supporters this week on prayer. Here’s the best 10 minutes I got…
I’ve done a fair amount of stirring the pot lately (as you know if you’ve read my life: unmasked post) — that is, the Christian pot I call my faith. I’ve spent some time sorting through the different subjects that both unite and divide Christians — abortion, homosexuality, Harry Potter, politics, kids before marriage, happy hour cocktails, gossip…. Subjects out of which summer camps, revival conferences, political campaigns, and even whole churches are birthed from. Not to mention the mid-afternoon workplace chats or the sketchy “Christian” conversation that takes place over a couple of beers, or in our case, over mint chocolate chip ice cream on our couch.
But prayer is not one of those subjects. In fact, prayer is such a non-controversial subject that it’s contention lies almost entirely with the fact that it’s not contentious. The only time prayer is a bit contentious is when you mix it with something else that is… like the public education system — praying in school. Now that’s a debate.
But prayer by itself is pretty like-able subject. Offer to pray for your least-religious of friends? He’ll probably say thanks and move on with his day. Let someone know you’re praying for them? “Cool, I appreciate it.” Who would refuse a little prayer?
It seems to me that prayer is one of those very few slices of Christian pie that everyone is happy or at least okay with. So long as we keep it separate from the crazy religious talk and politics (but then again, isn’t it always better to keep all matters separate from politics, the least of them prayer?).
Perhaps one of the reasons why prayer is such a like-able subject is that it’s broad. In fact, it’s almost so broad that it’s non-prescriptive. And, in my opinion, any piece of the Christian faith that is non-prescriptive is a good thing. Non-prescriptive facets of religion make that particular religion much more attractive (not because it has nothing to stand for but particularly because it has nothing fundamentally to fight about).
It makes basic fundamentals of faith, like prayer, free to interpret. In other words, it fights religious legalism with questions like — is there any wrong way to pray? This is what keeps me freed to pray the way in which I feel led. And, of course, it’s the religious legalism that, in my opinion, keeps those who don’t pray from doing so (you wouldn’t want to pray the wrong way now, would you…).
Makes me think: what would it be like if the other basic fundamentals of our faith were more freely discussed and interpreted?
* * *
If you’ve got a blog, consider writing your thoughts “on prayer” this week and linking up with Nish’s post on the World Vision blog.