Is This News?

I don’t know if there’s a finite number of ways this is just plain wrong:

Two prayer services were held at St. Louis gas stations to thank God for lower fuel prices and to ask that they continue to drop.

Participants of the Pray at the Pump movement said they planned to buy gas, pray and then sing “We Shall Overcome” with a new verse that goes, “We’ll have lower gas prices.”

ABC News

This is not to say that anything at all is ever above (or beneath) asking God for help.

This is not to say that “overcoming” gas prices can or cannot be done without the help of God. (The Invisible Hand, you say?)

And this is not to mock the very act of praying, period. I would actually maintain that seeing the most basic errors of praying for lower gas prices combined with the failure to do what one can to conserve energy would preserve the purity of these prayers.

It’s pretty disheartening, actually, to see that this made the front page of my iGoogle – that this actually made headline news. People pray everyday. People also gather to pray everyday – in public places, no less. Yet this particular instance of group prayer makes the frontpage. These are the kind of actions that are at the forefront of peoples’ minds that – intentionally or not – therefore represent the thinking and “action” of what being a Christian means.

While I’m cautious to jump to conclusions, I truly wonder what these people drove to the gas stations – H2’s? Perhaps that’s a bit of the L.A. talking; maybe they drove Explorers, instead.

Then again, maybe I’m just being asininely unsympathetic. But you know, it’s extremely difficult to feel sympathetic towards those who have an unwillingness to change. That the ultimate end of his or her own “faith” is a means to an end - heaven in the afterlife and, oh let’s not forget, to benefit by fulfilling his own greed needs.

No, I’m not saying that whenever one prays for himself, he’s necessarily greedy – but when you pray and pray for something you want to happen and make the existence (or attention) of God dependent upon a positive answer to your particular request, something’s wrong. You can always ask questions and you can always make requests – but you can only do it so many times before you start cutting your head on the wall. You ignore the warnings given by Him which – yes – warn that you’re about to cut your head on the wall so Newsflash! It might be best to try something else.

Renewable resources, maybe? Alternative fuels, much?

What if the prayers were about the continuance of energy sources? Or for the advancement of some sort of technology which would enable the transportation of people the same way we are able to do so today? But no. “Let me not have to pay an arm and a leg for the fuel which can only be depleted – not renewed – so I can go back to going about my business and treating this non-evolved creation, which was created for me, to my whim and fancy.”

And you know that thing you do – by saying God, God, God over and over again and praying in public to prove you’re more religious and “right” than I am (and your viewpoint more substantive)? Let me save you the breath: You’re right. The difference is whether you or I think “religious” is a positive thing.

“And whenever you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people. I tell you with certainty, they have their full reward! But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees from the hidden place will reward you.”

– Luke 11: 5-6