My grandmother used to complete the phrase “God helps those who help themselves.” with “God help those who get caught helping themselves.” It is in this similarly jocular fashion that Kevin Smith answers today’s Ottawa Citizen‘s “Ask the Religion Experts” question, “Does prayer change God’s mind?”
God help Kevin! He has a difficult task: first he must assume there is a God, and second, he must assume that this God considers whether to answer multiple individual prayers.
So much chattering at the same time. What’s a God to do? It would be enough to give him a headache. It does me. How can He, the Creator of the Universe, the all-knowing, all-powerful Master of our Destiny, change his game plan every milli-second we pesky mortals ask Him to? I can almost here Him thunder, “Fate isn’t planned by committee, you know.”
Smith quotes a study and provides a solution very similar to the phrase “God helps those who help themselves.”
A study of heart bypass patients concluded that recovery rates were faster for those who weren’t mentioned in a private plea to the Almighty. Perhaps in His mysterious way, He’s telling us something. So save yourself time and disappointment. Give prayers a miss for something more productive.
Rather than pray for people who are ill, overburdened with responsibility, or just in need of human kindness, do something productive. Offer to clean their house or pick up their groceries, take on a portion of someone’s responsibilities, and spend time with people who are lonely or depressed.
For God’s sake, stop praying! As Kevin Smith says,
No one would be more pleased than you know who.