In Chris Bankie’s eighth-grade religion class this month, students were asked to respond to the question “What is prayer?” They discussed the idea that God is not a “vending machine” who automatically fulfills requests. Following are two students’ essays.
Prayer is one of the most powerful things in the world. Without it, there would be no way to connect with God. Not many people realize that. It’s surprising how many people don’t pray at all. What I heard in our discussion surprised me.
I never thought of God as a vending machine but it’s a good analogy. Whenever I prayed when I was little, I realize now, I always wanted something. Whenever I pray now, I try to focus on praying for God’s help in becoming the best person I can be. Sometimes I pray to a person who has died. I try not to “want” in my prayers anymore.
I also think that in church when I’m saying the long prayers, I do just go through the actions and I’m not actually thinking about what I’m saying. I should change that because, otherwise, there’s no point in even saying the words if they have no meaning.
The discussion of prayer really opened my eyes and mind to the reality of it. I never really thought about it the way we talked about it.
What is prayer? The answer is different for all of us. However, most of us have at one point or another used God as our personal prayer machine. This would be people who ask God to fix problems in their lives, give them things they do not need, or anything else that does not include praising God for all that we do have, and the gift of life that he has given us.
Prayer is what I said in the sentences above; it should be to praise God and also to build up a relationship with him. Whether you are just saying a Hail Mary or talking to God through prayer in a “casual” way you are building a bond with God that you will realize where God wants you to go and what to do with your life.
I have asked myself before if anyone is listening to me while I pray, and even though God is always around us and listening to us, I feel that prayer is more of a time set out for God where you can become more personal with him.
Prayer is a time to stop, listen, and talk to God, and is perhaps the most basic of Catholic practices; however, I feel it is the very base of your relationship with God and is the roots of the Catholic Church.