If God is all knowing and all powerful, I suspect a single prayer is all he or she needs (or wants for that matter). Anything more than one is probably just noise to the almighty.
If there’s a God (there isn’t), I don’t imagine him or her saying “99 prayers… Damn! Just one short. Unfortunately, Aunt Bertha has to go”.
I understand the formulaic and informal nature of human dialog:
Person A: “My aunt is going in for surgery today”
Person B: “I’ll say a prayer”
I get that.
But I’m dumbfounded by people who think whispering upward actually makes a difference, or that there’s a correlation between the number of prayers posted on Facebook and Aunt Bertha’s chance of surviving an illness or medical procedure. To me, that’s delusional thinking.
I get annoyed by people asking for prayers on Facebook. I get agitated at the thought of “prayer posses”. Does that make me a dick? I kind of think it does. Why does it bother me so much when people solicit prayers?
I assume that anyone over a certain age and of minimal life-experience knows that prayers or “positive vibes” don’t do jack. Logically, if prayer worked, no one would get cancer, mass shootings would be a thing of the past, and Donald Trump would not exist.
After the first 100 prayers with no results, don’t all sane people come to a common-sense conclusion — that sometimes Aunt Bertha makes it — sometimes she doesn’t, and the outcome has nothing to do with praying.
When a friend or relative is in need, instead of offering prayers, maybe ask what you can “do”.
“If you want, I can bring in the mail and help pay the bills.”
“I can get your kids get off to school every morning and can pick them up from soccer practice”
“I’m preparing some meals for the family, just pop them in the microwave.”
“Don’t worry about house cleaning –I can come over on Tuesdays and get all that taken care of, just focus on getting better.”
“I can walk the dog on Thursdays and Saturdays and my kids can help walk her on the other days.”
These offers are infinitely more valuable than whispering upward.
You can still pray if you want (no help / no harm I suppose), but follow that prayer up with acts of kindness that help the person in need directly and in a concrete way.