It’s dark in the corners of our village church and the light sometimes struggles to find its way in especially when the days are hazy as they often are, but when it does, the contrast between the light and the darkness is so striking it can create a moment of introspective illumination … at least for me.

People don’t come here as often as they once did and while I think it very beautiful, I only feel the ghosts of self-recrimination and regret. I’m sure some housekeeping must be necessary to aid in sweeping these feelings away, but I’m not sure where to begin. The instruction manual no longer makes sense to me and the teachers who garner the most attention feel false.

I usually learn best by doing, but sometimes when I am unsure … I wait.

I tend to be fairly private about my questions of faith and thoughts on God. My experience with the Christian community in general tends to makes me think of the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” where there are lots of extremes and a little girl who’s looking for “just right.”

Would God Send A Message In Online Ad?

The other day I saw something flash across my computer screen that at a glance looked like the words, “Need help praying?”

Taking a closer look, I saw that the words were actually “paying, not praying” and while I felt a little disappointed it made more sense.

Who doesn’t need a little help paying these days? Very few seem unaffected by the world’s changing economy, but for a half second I was thinking, Yes, I could use some help praying.

Other people seem to do it so easily talking about it online in Facebook and in their blog comments. I see it all the time and requests saying,”Prayers needed” are often met with a one word response, “Praying.” Sometimes my Facebook page looks like one big prayer chain with long lists of people joining in.

I never do. I watch from the edges not holding out much hope for the person in need especially if prayer is all they have left.

Don’t get me wrong, it looks like a comfort to be part of a support system where people believe that someone greater than themselves can heal their loved one, save their house from foreclosure, or bring them a loving partner if only they can raise enough voices to God in prayer.

I just feel so used to handling whatever happens that praying about it feels a bit like tossing my hands in the air and giving up control.

In my younger years when I heard people say, “I’m giving it up to the Lord” I would think and sometimes argue that I thought God gave us a brain to think with and we should handle things on our own.

And what if despite all the prayers … the loved one dies, the house is lost to the bank, and no loving partner is revealed? Does that mean God wasn’t listening?

I did a lot of praying when I was a child, when I believed that prayer was like a hotline to God’s ear and I will still offer up a gentle request sometimes when I’m on an airplane and someone else in control, but prayer feels more like a “just in case” sort of action now, rather than one based on any firm faith or belief.

It’s the contradictions of the seemingly faithful that give me pause, the people who pray out loud, “Bless us O Lord,” while turning away from those in need, or the church leaders who pray about avoiding sin and secretly commit heinous acts themselves.

Sometimes I wish for a burning bush. I know I’m not Moses and I don’t have any people to lead, but I sure have a few questions I’d like to ask God.

The seeker in me wonders if the praying versus paying ad might have been a spark for my burning bush moment, perhaps a flicker of a flame meant to catch my eye.