Yesterday's post ended with reference and reaction to the news bite that a governor, because of drought in his state, had brought forth the idea sending state officials out to get farmers and other good folk to gather and pray to the Great Potato for rain.
There were a number of people who were, if possible*, even more bemused than I at the incredible inanity that an elected official could not only make such an idea public, but use state officials to implement it! It's the sort of thing I'd expect in the Third Galaxy, but the Great Potato forbid that anything of the sort should happen in my beloved US of A!
However, my bemusement is more nuanced than some so, I am in no way an opponent of prayer as such.
Something the Crazy Bird wrote many years ago explains my position better than I ever could:
Some think that prayer is a sort of wish list we can send off to the Great Potato while we're washing dishes or scratching our butts. Others say we have to assume certain positions, be in certain places or make our requests at specific times. I'd rather not comment too deeply here, but it's as if they've gotten the idea that the Great Potato a sort of souped up Santa Claus, fairy godmother or divine Welfare Office.Is it possible to accept Reality and, at the same time, ask that it change? Perhaps, but it does seem like there is a disconnect somewhere, like when the bicycle chain hops off or the gears strip when you reverse while going forward.
Then there are those who look at prayer as spiritual sit- or push-up exercises. It's as if repeating a string of words should somehow remove flabbiness from the soul. Despite my sarcasm though, I do recognize there may be an element of reality to the idea -- it is not the words, though, but the silence they can lead to, that is to say, contemplation, even meditation.
Finally, I know that many labor under the unfortunate illusion that prayer is like the punishments Bart Simpson does after school where he has to write 100 times on the blackboard, "I will not pick my boogers in class..."
To be as clear as I can: prayer is not something that will please, appease or coerce the Great Potato to alter Reality.
My position is that prayer is an instinct as basic as those which urge a baby to suck milk or adults to desire the embrace of love with another human being.
The bottom line is that not only does the Great Potato not hear prayers, but if It did, It's reaction as well as that of It's Only Begotten Spud, the Holy Idaho, would be to wonder if we were ever going to learn to listen to what we were, in essence, saying and understand the consequences of what we were expecting to happen, should that actually occur.
It's kind of like saying, "Thank you for the glory and wonder -- gimme a bag of pork rinds!
* If it is of any interest, you can see the comments of others here and here.