Last night we had inclement weather at home, along with a swath of country extending from northern Mexico to Michigan. I had occasion at the time, as a tornadic supercell pressed towards our city, to throw a few prayers heavenwards; and I have occasion now to wonder about the utility of such action.
Too easily does prayer become the casting of coins into the wishing-well of eternity. Indeed, the old apologist chestnut, “there are no atheists in foxholes,” hardly bodes well for the type of frantic belief in God that such a situation implies. The benefit to belief of imminent danger is that such belief as may exist is not rational or consciously reflected-upon, but it cannot gain from the type of introspection which allows faith to take serious root.
In addition, the purpose of prayer is to bring our wills into alignment with that of our Heavenly Father—a purpose explicitly missed in the heat of a dangerous moment.
The lesson, I suppose, is to make my prayers always fervent, and never with the intent of “changing” God’s will, but with that of accepting it.