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Prayer and Bruce Almighty

man praying

Why do you pray?

The subject of prayer has been on my mind today. We don’t truly understand the concept of prayer in today’s society. How can talking with someone we don’t see be of benefit to us? One of the biggest misconceptions about prayer is that we do it for God’s benefit. If I pray “Lord, I need a job. Please provide me with a job as soon as possible. Amen.” God’s reaction isn’t going to be “Wait…you need a job? I had no clue – thank you for letting Me know this!” Prayer isn’t for God’s benefit, it’s really for our benefit. One of my favorite quotes about prayer is by C.S. Lewis – “I don’t pray to change God’s mind. I pray for God to change my mind!”

Through prayer, we realize how much we really need to depend on God. Praying makes us aware of our limitations and reminds us of God’s greatness. Prayer does not obligate God to give us what we want – He is not a supernatural vending machine dispensing our desires at the push of a button. When you are in a relationship with someone you spend time communicating with that individual, otherwise the relationship will suffer. Prayer is about communicating with our Creator and developing our relationship with Him. Sometimes even the church struggles with the concept of prayer (Andy Stanley did a great sermon on this very topic – Big Church (Part 2): Big Prayers (NOTE – The video will automatically start on Part 1, so you will need to select Part 2 for this particular sermon)).

A great illustration of our misconception regarding prayer can be found in the 2003 Jim Carrey movie Bruce Almighty. It’s the tale of Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey), a down on his luck news reporter who gets frustrated with God. Bruce accuses God of being cruel and not doing His job, so God (Morgan Freeman) gives Bruce His powers for one week to show him that he can’t do it any better. In one particular scene Bruce tries to figure out how to answer the prayers of the world (see the video below) and decides to create a computerized system. He realizes that the more prayers he answers, the more prayers come in. Frustrated, he decides to answer “yes” to all prayers. The results of Bruce’s action cause extreme chaos in the world (you’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens).

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about prayer?

Photo Credit: By Leland Francisco

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