I have a problem with prayer. The older I get, the more I realize that throughout my life, I have treated prayer like a magic formula. If I could get the order of the words just right or say the right words, then my wish would come true. I treated God like a powerful wizard with the ability to change the course of my life. If I prayed hard enough, and if he was feeling benevolent, then maybe I would be “blessed.” Jesus was treated like a fairy godfather. If I was contrite enough and wished for the right things (because praying feels like making wishes), then he would wave his magic wand over me and fix my problems.
My prayer life made it look like I was trying to live in a fairy tale.
When I put aside the notion that prayer isn’t a magical incantation, the notion that if I prayed in exactly the right way, I would get what I want, my problem with prayer became even more complex. If God isn’t a genie in a lamp, waiting around to grant my wish (prayer), then what am I supposed to pray for?
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