Are you in the "in group"? One of the "popular people"?
Today's sermon spoke of our need as humans to control God. We often do this through prayer. Those we pray for are the "in group". We are bargaining with God on behalf of an ill family member or a friend during hard times.
The "out group" are all those people we don't pray for.
Right now I know of someone who is being prayed for. The anthropologist in me watches this with great amusement. See.... this is a new "in group" person. There was someone else who caused this same kind of reaction in the same group of people. She was frequently prayed for and much sympathy for her situation was freely given. Her situation hasn't changed. She just isn't the one that's "in" anymore.
It could be argued with absolute logic and reason, that the prayers for this person haven't worked. Her situation is unimproved. Despite many prayers by many faithful people, her situation is not much different, if at all, than it was a year ago. Or two years ago. I suspect the same will be true for the new subject of great prayers as well.
How is it that prayer becomes a weapon. A divining rod of who is worthy and who is not. I am a lousy pray-er. When asked if I would like to lead the prayer, I decline. Not really... no thanks. I am told there are no bad prayers. Yea? You haven't heard mine. Cause sometimes my prayer goes along the lines of: Dear God, please give me the strength to not tell her to suck it up already and fix it. Thank you. Amen.
I am often asked to pray for This or That. I usually don't. I usually pray asking God to be with that person and give him/her strength. I don't like praying for healing..... if someone isn't healed, does that mean God said "no"? Does that mean God didn't listen? Does it mean God doesn't care?
When Pastor Carl gave his sermon today I could totally relate. I often feel that prayer and the request for prayers deliniate who is in and who is out. Who deserves favor from God and who does not. When public prayer is offered for one person and not for another who might be suffering more.... why? Why does one deserve prayers and another does not?
Several months ago (a year or more) frequent requests for prayers came to me for an ill child. Tragic, to be sure. Don't get me wrong. But one request came for another ill child. This woman was someone's child. She was an adult with children of her own. She was just as terminal.... and just as loved... as the preschooler that was prayed for more often and by more people. What made that child "in"? Why would she be more deserving of God's grace than the 20something year old young mother (and daughter and wife)?
Shouldn't we all be "in" with God?