The concluding class of the Philosophy of God was a real finale! During the course of the final revision and general clarifications, the topic of prayer and its utility came up, again. The argument and discussion went on for quite some time. My whole emphasis was on living prayer than merely a 'sitting prayer' - mere vocal list of petitions while in the Church. What actually triggered the discussion to the point of frenzy and emotional outbursts was when I, in my regular enthusiasm - termed the latter form of prayer 'bullshit'. However, throughout the discussion I could gather that the Brothers were attentive to what I was speaking. Though had they really been attentive to what I was saying all along the semester, this would not have come as a surprise.
My whole contention was that prayer has to follow an effort on my part. I just cannot simply pray and do that alone! That according to me is an insult to God - a God who has empowered me and blessed me with a super-abundance of gifts and graces so that I can make a difference in this world. So prior to my asking God to do things, I need to do my bit. Without that I cannot just ask God to do things for me, while all that I do is sit in the Chapel (when I go to the Chapel, only) and utter words. Such a prayer would according to me, be an insult to God and a sure act of defence of my own laziness.
Then, there was a brief discussion on the content of prayer itself. In other words, what do I pray for. Furthermore the idea that God need not answer my prayers was another thing my students could not digest. I said, when I pray, I leave the choice to God to answer them or not. Their immediate question: 'Why pray then?' (The answer to that has already been given in the book of Harold Kushner, When bad things happen to good people.)