To the Editor:
I’m sure the author meant well when he wrote “Prayer as Philosophy – A Spiritual and Moral Guide to Life,” but as a Christian, I believe that the article was off-target. In response to the claim that prayer is a spiritual and moral guide in our lives, I would like to present a biblical view of prayer.
On the surface, the fact that this article stressed prayer as the answer may seem OK because prayer is not bad. However, it is my opinion that the article divorced God from prayer. Prayer alone cannot satisfy a search for meaning, morality, freedom or truth. The Bible teaches that the only thing that can satisfy this search is God.
We first need to define what prayer is according to the Bible: prayer is a demonstration of faith in God, it is the privilege of approaching God in communication and it affirms our relationship with God, much like spending time with a friend. Prayer is powerful and effective; it is a petition brought before a God who listens, understands and responds.
The Bible does not teach that prayer is a way to affirm the world. Actually, it says that whoever is a friend of the world is an enemy of God (James 4:4) because the things prized by this world are temporary but the things prized by God last forever (1 John 2:12-17).
The article refers to scripture that reads, “What does it profit a man to have all the treasure in the world but lose his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). But the author took this passage out of context. In context this is how it reads: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me [Jesus] will save it. What does it profit a man to have all the treasure in the world but to lose his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26).
So, one does not find his soul through prayer, but through following Jesus. Therefore, the gift of meaning, morality, freedom and truth is offered through Jesus, not prayer, as this article claims.
Now, how does God give us these things through Jesus? When you become a servant of Christ, you are freed from the slavery of sin (doing wrong) and saved from the consequences of sin: a meaningless, empty life spent in a vain attempt for purpose, ending in an equally empty death (Romans 6:22).
By dying on the cross, Jesus took the punishment that we deserve for turning away from God. Jesus closed the gap between imperfect man and perfect God (1 Peter 1:18). In no other religion has God already done all that is necessary to allow us into heaven (John 14:6). Christ’s resurrection from the dead proves that sin and its consequences CAN be defeated, and it is the final step that makes our salvation possible (1 Cor.15:14-17).
By freeing us from sin, Christ gives us the ability to come to God, to know the difference between wrong and right and to DO what is right (Romans 6). True freedom is living how God meant us to.
Finally, the article mentions that people actively avoid asking questions about their actions mostly because we don’t live up to our own standards. It claimed that prayer is the answer to these problems.
We can use meditation and honest scrutiny of oneself to get rid of hypocrisies in what we say and do, but prayer is something more: It involves God. To find purpose and meaning, look to the source, to the Creator – not to the created. Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”