According to Martin Griffith of the Associated Press: “Religious leaders, farmers in Nevada, Utah pray for water in West.” Really?
Faith leaders asked for divine intervention during a special multi-faith service Saturday [1 Feb 2014] at a Mormon church in Reno suburb of Sparks. And on Sunday, the Utah Farm Bureau Federation asked the public to join in prayer for snow and rain for livestock and crops as part of its Harvesting Faith event.
As a water resource planner and engineer, these type of events seem strangely bizarre for a number of reasons:
- Is praying a reasonable alternative to careful planning, construction, and operation of water projects?
- Is praying for divine intervention a reasonable alternative to careful drought contingency planning?
- And most importantly, do people really believe that God is up there stirring the pot? Is He really going to make it rain or snow because we ask Him for precipitation? Or because we do a rain dance?
If there is a God, I don’t believe that He answers these sort of prayers. We are on earth to manage and solve our own problems. Prayer is important as a means of meditation, as a means of recognizing there is something more important than ourselves, as a way of bonding with family and friends. But I just don’t see it as an avenue for asking God to resolve our problems.
I had a Mormon Bishop who believed that God put fuel in his gas tank so he wouldn’t have to buy gas on Sunday. And it is not unusual to hear similar stories in Mormon Fast and Testimony Meetings. Stories of how God has directly intervened in personal lives. But for me, this is difficult. I just don’t see it.
If we are going to pray, perhaps we should ask for clarity and cohesiveness in dealing with the crisis.