Praying for Lower Gas Prices… Literally
When I teach Sunday school, I often encourage the children to pray. I would explain that praying is just talking to God. I tell kids that you can pray to God about anything.
Grown-ups seem to have taken this childhood message to heart, especially Rocky Twyman, a community organizer from Maryland. This community organizer has been touring the country and organizing prayer meetings at local gas stations to ask God for lower gas prices.
Twyman has recently been in San Francisco, according to the SF Chronicle. He and his fellow pray-ers gathered at a Chevron station and pleaded “God, deliver us from these high gas prices”.
Whining at God
Maybe I need to refine my “you can pray to God about anything” statement. I still think it’s okay to encourage children to pray to God about their small concerns. After all, it’s cute when a little boy loses his teddy bear and prays that he finds his precious companion. And I’ve prayed for petty concerns myself. For example, I can begrudgingly admit to praying for a touchdown during a nail-biting Cal football game.
It’s different, though, when a group of people gather to pray. It ought to have some level of severity. At church, we regularly pray for life issues: marriages, babies, baptisms, illnesses, societal concerns, and global hunger to name a few. But gathering to pray for lower gas prices? Doesn’t that seem a bit like whining at God? (Besides, did any of them drive to this prayer meeting?)
Why Higher Gas Prices are Good
High fuel prices hurt the pocket book. I feel it too. But recent price increases force us to consider the wisdom of the oil-dependent lifestyles we’ve chosen.
Americans live a lavish lifestyle built upon heavy consumption of global resources. For years, we lived in blissful ignorance of this fact. We build huge houses, drive large cars, and endure long daily commutes. But if we think about it, the 50+ mile daily commute from the suburbs and exurbs is downright absurd. Sitting in the car for hours is unhealthy and unpleasant. It’s polluting; it’s wasteful; and it’s widespread.
If fuel prices continue to stay high — which I hope it does — people are likely to move closer to work and find themselves happier. Recent happiness studies indicate that commuting is among the top daily activities that makes people less happy. It’s strange that misery won’t make people commute less.
If you’re going to pray to God, don’t waste your breath complaining to Him about fuel costs. Pray instead, “God, deliver us from our own absurd fossil-fuel-dependent lifestyle.”