Communicating with God (2)
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To approach the idea of prayer as a means of communicating with God from a slightly different perspective, let's look at the functions of prayer. The four main functions are:
As in the previous Meditation, I would suggest that if prayer is to be considered communication, then an unequivocal response is required.
Consider a dog owner interacting with his dog. Much of the exchange will fall in the same four categories.
"Good dog!" The dog will usually respond, and sit up, look proud. You know the praise has been received and understood.
Give the dog a treat after she has done something correctly. The dog will gratefully accept it, and provided the reward closely follows the correct behaviour, you can tell from future behaviour that the dog understands why this thank-you gift is being given.
Pet the dog, hug it, spend extra time grooming it. You can see the dog reacting positively to expressions of love and expressing love in return. (be prepared for a well-licked face.)
"Stay!" "Sit" "Roll over!" "Walkies!" Once the dog has been trained to know what these words mean, it will react. Ask, and the dog will obey.
This is communication. You can tell the message has been received. Communication goes both ways.
And just as the dog reacts when the owner initiates the exchange, the dog reasonably expects a reaction from the owner when the dog is the initiator. Even without speech, a dog will express thanks and love, and will make requests ("feed me please", "I need to go outside", "let's play") all through body language - and the owner will be able to recognize it and respond.
Interaction with "Man's best friend" is clearly and unquestionably communication. Praying to a god just does not match up. The feedback is lacking. Prayer is not communication.