Why should I ask God for what I want? Okay, okay, Jesus did so, in at least one case, but that was a literally life-or-death situation. It’s instinctual to say “Pleeeeease?” when facing a command from Heavenly Central to walk into the arms of the Reaper.
No, really, I’m wondering about this. If I’m not in harmony with God and with my fellow human beings and with existence itself, what business do I have asking? And if I am, what could I possibly need, and why should I prime the pump — since God knows my needs and has promised them to me if I’m living in God’s will — by saying I want this-or-that?
What it boils down to, in my mind, is thinking about that ultimately-high concept of God as someone who is not made greater or less by anything that happens to God’s creation. His power to resurrect was still evident three days after He, in human form, died on the cross. Even if you argue that God could, if God chose, lessen his Godness somehow, well, okay, but God ain’t done that, and God ain’t given any indication that He plans to do that. Nietzsche notwithstanding. Nonggg.
So if I’m someone, or a something, that has NO EFFECT on God’s welfare, on God’s God-ness, I think it’s then pretty presumptive of me to play to God’s compassion for His creation, for those created in God’s image, by asking for stuff. At the very least it’s selfish — it’s telling me that I’ve not yet learned what walking in Christ, or even just generally being a good human being, is all about. There is nothing that is truly good that God doesn’t already want. And when two or more good events cannot occur simultaneously, either there’s a BEST one among those good events, and hence God knows about it, or it’s a coin toss, and it doesn’t matter to God much, and shouldn’t matter to me much, which one happens.
But what about praying for those changes in myself, for those levels of understanding, that I can’t reach on my own? Even then, if the prayer is worthwhile, it’s as a verbalization, an affirmation ON MY PART, of a needed future step, and it sets mind, self, and the universe to which I’m connected, all on the path to the currently-unreachable marker.
Practice does that. And my practice always begins with prayer, whether it’s Zen practice or something more arcane.
Magick too often gets sold as a way to get unseen forces to respond to one’s own command. But Christianity gets sold that way, too: You’re asked to become a faithful follower of Christ IN ORDER TO ____________. Eternal life, true happiness, peace, a better world, all those are bennies.
If God exists, and is good, but we’re somehow in a parallel universe where eternal life does not await us after we die to this body…
…isn’t the Creator of this wonderful Universe still worth our praise?
And if so, why should I worry Him about stuff?
ETA: Maybe it’s a kind of bootstrap dealie, a way out for those of us (and I count myself frequently among this number) who have NO BUSINESS asking. If God answers anyway in THOSE cases, in a way that moves us forward, then we’re motivated to take the next step ourselves. Hmm. Maybe.