Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Prayer, and Other Things

When I drive to work in the mornings, I listen to Atlanta's most widespread news/talk radio station. There has been much talk of the Michael Vick dogfighting extravaganza these days, especially since he is (or will have been) the Atlanta Falcons' starting quarterback. This morning's segment ended with the news guy mentioning that Michael Vick had prayed a lot preceding his guilty plea.

In pleading guilty, he implicitly/explicitly admits guilt, so for this post, I talk under the framework of him being guilty. (I had thought about doing a post on this Vick stuff before, but that was before we knew if he was guilty or not.)

So then the cynical side of me decided to awake from its slumber: Michael Vick? Praying? If he said he did, I guess he did, but come on now. I can't imagine that Michael Vick prayed a lot before his boondoggle operation got exposed. Then again, I don't know Michael Vick, so maybe he did pray a lot before then.

If I'd been even more cynical, I would've let the "Does God even hear prayers of people who never pray?" thought finish, but since I like to think that I'm a little less cynical than that, I tried not to let it finish. Because before God, none of us are any better than Vick; no not one, no not one. So I certainly hope He hears prayers of adulterers, idolators, cowards, and the like, because we're all a bunch of sinners. (That last sentence does not mean I think that Vick is all those things, except a sinner...like I said, I don't know the man)

This got me thinking about how God views people who never pray. What happens when those people do pray? How does God accept cries for help from people who, aside from their moment of foxhole piety, otherwise live their lives as they please? I suppose if these cries of help were made toward a human, he might be inclined to say "Hmph. You've never shown me much respect or shown faith in me before, so why should I help you now? Especially when you probably won't act a smidge different after all this?" But then again, God is gracious, and we should not expect God to react in a fallen human manner. I don't presume to know the mind of God, so maybe one of you readers can presume for me and let me know what you think ;)

On a note not related to prayer, but related to Mike Vick...
This is another page in the book of wealth-is-a-snare or money ≠ happiness. In December of 2004, this guy signed a 10 year contract for $130 million, plus a $37 million signing bonus. This guy made enough money to retire by signing a contract. Not to mention all his endorsement deals (which have all probably been flushed down the toilet at this point). All that money means he could've had anything that money could buy. He probably could've bought his own private island or his own fighter plane. But he also goes and gets involved in dogfighting, which I would assume brought in more money for him. His football and endorsement deals weren't enough, so he went for more. This brings to mind one of my favorite scriptures, and a most relevant one indeed:

Proverbs 30:7-9
7 Two things I ask of you;
deny them not to me before I die:

8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,

9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, "Who is the LORD?"
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.

It's quite unfortunate that even though he had riches upon riches, it still wasn't enough to fulfill. I don't dislike him any more for letting down his fans (which I don't think I ever was a big one, because I'm not a big NFL fan); I pity him for poor decision making and getting entangled by wealth.

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  • Ewokgirl

    My husband has often said that if we didn't have any problems, we'd never seek God. That passage from Proverbs is a wonderful reminder of the delicate balance we humans have between ego and despair.

    I'll admit that I'm a cynic when it comes to celebrity-types seeking God. Paris Hilton comes to mind. She really seemed to believe she was above the law and didn't deserve to go to jail, but once convicted, she was seen carrying a bible. Perhaps it was a genuine realization that she could do nothing without God, but perhaps it was yet another piece of showmanship to try to convince the public of her reformation.

    Just as we can't really presume to know the mind of God, we can't presume to know the minds and hearts of our fellow humans. We can have a degree of discernment based on observation, but we can never truly know what goes on in someone else's heart and mind.

    I can only hope that those who make a show of seeking God through prayer or bible reading actually encounter the One True God. I believe God knows the prayers of all people, but whether Christian or not, He answers prayers in the negative or affirmative depending upon what is best for us. Unfortunately, people too often see God as a magic genie who grants wishes, so when they don't get what they want, they write him off.

  • Thehotrod5

    Just wanted to pop in and say I found your blog today and spent much time reading it. THANK YOU! So many times you have put into words that which I can not.

  • Myfriendconnie@SmockityFrocks

    I thought of the dog fighting as more for entertainment than a money making venture, but who knows.

    As for prayer, God says, "Those who honor me, I will honor," and the Bible tells us He attunes His ears to the prayers of the righteous. (I'll have to look up those scriptures.)