Prayer has fallen on hard times, I think. In the wake of school shootings and the sufferings of the world, those who say, “I’m praying for you” are mocked for not doing anything “real” to address the problem. I even hear my pastoral colleagues rail at the “uselessness” of prayer. I suppose there can be some truth in that criticism. Prayer is often an act of desperation in the face of hopelessness. It is even the insipid response to a situation we wish would just go away. We “pray” when we lack the courage, ability, or desire to act.
This is a phrase we usually hear when we are being a little immature. We might be pouting because we didn’t get our way, and someone will inevitably tell us to grow up. There are countless ways we act childish.
Lots of people have lots of questions about matters of faith. I know this. I also know that many folks are reluctant to ask those questions. Sometimes it is because the question might reveal too much about their struggles. Sometimes it’s because they asked a question once and it led to judgment or dismissal. Sometimes folks fear that the question is silly.
I was thankful this morning as I saw small puddles of water on the deck. It had rained in the night. Though we are not, by definition, suffering a drought, you could not convince my pollinator garden of that fact. I’ve been watering, especially the plants new this season, but it’s not the same. The old saying goes, “Watering keeps the plants alive. Rain makes them grow.”