Back in 2006 I remembering coming across a blog with the following subtitle: “Nothing Fails Like Prayer.” I’ve read articles entitled the same thing. And I’ve read various writings through the years of people who mocked prayer and argued against its practice. It’s easy to locate writings against any faith-based activity.
The phrase, “nothing fails like prayer” has become quite popular with the faithless. I imagine it’s used because it’s highly charged and garners strong emotions that result in debates often sought after by those seeking a forum to mock. For a people who pride themselves on living an evidence-based life it strikes me rather odd to give prayer such a lofty title as “most failed.” Surely they can think of something else that fails as much as they think prayer might – perhaps even more. Drug rehab, government welfare, criminal rehabilitation, education and host of other things have a pretty solid failure rate. The faithless are often quiet about other things with high failure rates.
Another blog cited the following quotation, attributed to anonymous: “There are none more ignorant and useless, than they that seek answers on their knees, with their eyes closed.”
Free speech affords all us the constitutional right (at least in America) to say what we want. Freedom of religion in America also thankfully affords us the right to practice our faith. Separation of “church” and “state” is a good thing, in spite of what some Christians think. We don’t want the state teaching religion to our children. That’s the job of every Christian home.
Perhaps some of the rhetoric of the faithless is spurred on by the evangelical movement, which has done harm to the Truth. What better enemy of the Truth of God’s Word than something disguised as religious or faith-based? While some among the movement teach slivers of Truth, quite often it’s done with such self-righteous indignation and piety that it does disservice to the Truth. Most in the movement teach no doctrine other than that of love, prosperity, feeling good about oneself, and other touchy feely concepts. As they go about as a traveling carnival filled with snake oil salesmen it’s no wonder the faithless are often quick to attack religion. Certainly much of what is passed off as Christianity isn’t. The plight of the faithless is to draw conclusions on the Gospel of Christ based on the error of human teaching disguised as the teaching of Christ.
To argue with the atheist is unprofitable most of the time. Christians are viewed as ignorant, stupid and gullible by most of them. We do things blindly and without any reasoning. Our beliefs, they will often argue, are not evidence-based. Never mind that they’re wrong in that assumption and that the Gospel of Christ makes perfect sense.
Paul told the congregation at Rome that serving God was spiritual. Rom. 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (spiritual) service.”
It’s not only spiritual, but it’s also logical because of the sins of man, which cannot be forgiven without the blood of a Savior – Jesus Christ. In order to reconcile ourselves back to God, God put the plan into place. It makes sense to do what we must to save ourselves in eternity – thanks to God’s grace extended to us by giving His Son to become the supreme sacrifice or atonement for our transgressions. It makes no sense to ignore or despise that gift of God by refusing to obey the Gospel or by disbelieving it. It makes no sense to direct ourselves toward an eternal hell when God has put into place a means for us to avoid it and go live with Him forever instead.
The plight of the faithless is their firm conviction that they are right. They write and speak of prayer being a waste of time. They write how we can’t alter God’s plans. Of course, most atheists have a notion that all so-called Christians believe in miraculously answered prayer. It’s a false assumption. They incorrectly think we all pray for God to miraculously heal a person diagnosed with a terminal “can’t be cured” disease. No, some of us pray for God to help that person, and their family, endure that illness. In all things we pray that God’s will be done, not our own. True Christians know that God is not our servant. We’re His.
The faithless know they’re right. They know we’re foolishly devoting ourselves to a God they can neither see, feel or hear. They know there is no heaven or hell. They know this life is all there is. Their knowledge is based on far less than our faith. The evidence-based faith that we incorporate into our lives is greater evidence-based behavior. Faith based on the Gospel of Christ is evidence based!
True Christians are like the apostle Paul – we’re persuaded. We’re not conned. We’re not gullible. Twice Paul used the phrase “am persuaded.”
In Rom. 14:14 he was persuaded that eating anything was okay provided we gave proper thanks to God. He knew not all men of his time were persuaded of this though and he was mindful of his influence on those who may be weaker. “I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
He was also persuaded that his life of physical pain and suffering was worthwhile. To Timothy he wrote in 2Tim. 1:12 “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
The faithless don’t understand that. Few will be persuaded, but still we try. And still we attempt to be a light to this world. Not by barking back at those who use rhetoric that can frighten the most hardened among us – I mean, just reading the phrase, “nothing fails like prayer” is pretty dramatic, isn’t it? A continuous faithful life devoted to the God we serve is still our best sermon. There are times where words won’t suffice. And if our behavior or actions cause men to hate us or revile us – I suppose we ought to count ourselves blessed as disciples did in ancient days.
Acts 5:41 “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.”
We should be mindful of our actions and behavior. Perhaps by our godly actions the world will see the reasons for our hope and faith. Study your Bible. Worship God in truth and spirit. Behave righteously every day. Live your life as though it matters – because it does!