I keep seeing and hearing of people saying they're "praying for" Japan but not saying what they're praying for exactly. It's really a kind of meaningless expression of concern. Deep down they know their prayers won't affect the outcome other than to make them feel a bit better about being helpless. This is the kind of insipid vague crapola that bugs me when it's directed toward me. If you actually question the good-hearted souls who offer to pray for others they will quickly become embarrassed at how shallow and useless their gesture is.
Here are some questions to ask in case you run into this inanity:
- Why would a Christian god care about non-Christians?
- Why didn't God prevent the earthquake and tsunami?
- What are you asking God to do, exactly?
- Why didn't you pray for Japan (or Haiti, or Thailand) before this happened?
- What about all the other people in the world who need help? Why not pray for them?
- Why are you only praying for the living? Why not ask god to forgive the deceased for being Shintoists and Buddhists?
- Why aren't you praying for God to halt the aftershocks? (they likely aren't)
- Why should God listen to you?
- If you pray for the Japanese and another earthquake kills more people there, does that mean God doesn't answer prayers?
- Why doesn't God perform a miracle and bring all the victims back to life?