Daily Light from the Lighthouse
"Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.
The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Prayer was in the news this week. Comedian and talk show host Joy Behar interviewed fellow comedian Janeane Garofalo. In the interview, Garofalo said that prayer was "un-intellectual". While defending Garofalo on another program, Behar said, "Faith is something that you feel. Thinking is something that you do with your brain. It's different. When prayer takes the place of logical thinking, then I think it's dangerous."
It is obvious that people are quite confused on what prayer really is. Faith and prayer have become very distorted by the secularization of Scripture and hijacked by many individuals for personal gain. Quite a few individuals have made God their "genie in a bottle", and they hope if they say the right words then they will have all of their wishes come true. Many are blindly led through a series of words and affirmations to then be told that they now have eternal life because of what they said. If prayer is carried out in this way, then Garofalo and Behar are right. That type of prayer is un-intellectual, dangerous, and absent of true faith.
Jesus never told us to turn off our minds when we come to Him. As a matter of fact, a reading of the Scriptures teaches just the opposite. He wants our minds to be transformed according to His will and through His power. A decision to turn to Christ through prayer is an intellectual choice that has been guided by faith in who Christ is. Faith is not simply a feeling however. Our feelings cannot dictate our faith, or we will stumble and fall at every major or even minor circumstance that comes into our lives. This is exactly what Jesus was telling Peter. He needed a power over and above what was within himself. Peter truly wanted to live a life of superb faith, but a desire to do so is not good enough. There is an emotional, physical, and intellectual struggle that takes place within each of us. Our desire to do right is often overcome by this flesh with which we struggle. Dependence upon God is what gives us the power over the temptation that we feel on a daily basis. Jesus even taught us in what we commonly call the "The Lord's Prayer" to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
We must drown out all of the critics of prayer by looking at the life of Jesus. He taught us prayer by example, and there is not a one of us that would truly say that he was un-intellectual and dangerous. He is God in the flesh living out the example of life for each of us.
May you pray today and be an overcomer for Christ's sake.