Does Praying for Fun Count?

What two things do millions of people spend time doing and convincing others to do that many think is a waste of time? Vote and Pray.

Steve Levitt on the Freakonomics podcast of October 25th talks about voting turns around the idea that a person’s vote doesn’t make a difference. He argues people vote not to make a difference in the election result, but because it is fun.


…most people understand that their vote doesn’t really matter for the election, which is exactly why I said it’s only the not so smart people who vote because they’re actually going to influence the election. I think the reason most people vote, and the reason I occasionally vote is that it’s fun. It’s fun to vote, it’s expressive, and it’s a way to say the kind of person you are,…


What are your reasons for praying? Is it to effect the outcome of an event or to make a difference in the world? Here is an article reviewing some studies on the effectiveness of prayer on recovery from illness. It examines a lot of assumptions made by the studies, but doesn’t question that the purpose of prayer is to make a difference in outcome of events, in these cases, healing from surgery.

Four hundred years ago Francois de Fenelon taught that “Time spent in prayer is never wasted.” I like to tell folks that prayer is time spent with God. Understood this way a prayer is not a question to be answered, a magic method of control of events, or a vote for change. Prayer expresses the kind of person you are, one who spends time with God.

A prayerful life is not measured by how many things prayer changed, but by how the life which spent time in prayer was changed. Experiment with backing off the scientific approach to prayer, which measures results and keeps track of “answered prayer”. Instead be mindful of what kind of person you are when you are a person who prays, who spends time with God. Express what kind of person you are by voting for God by praying.


Matthew 6:5-6


“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989
by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council
of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.



How To Get Your Wish

Some rights reserved by AndiH Creative Commons License 

Blind Bartimaeus and Mark 10:46-52 inform a message about “How To Get Your Wish”. Here’s some recommendations given in the message:

  • Be Present
  • Be Praying
  • Be Persistent
  • Be Prepared
  • Be Personal
  • Click to listen to the message given by me at the church I serve at Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, in Akron, Ohio on October 28, 2012

    Listen to Make A Wish Come True


    My Favorite Olympic Video Spoof

    My daughter claims she was embarrassed when I performed this Olympic homage at the community pool in the late eighties….


    From the Google Video description: Harry Shearer’s masterpeice on the art of Synchro swimming, featuring Martin Short and Christopher Guest.


    Can Power Be Good?

    Did your credit call ever call you as you left the store? Mine did. 


    Here is the audio portion of Sunday’s message about power.



    10 Reasons To Use PDF files instead of Word files

    Ever get a poster, announcement, or handout in Word format that wouldn’t print right? If the person sent the information in PDF (Portable Document Format) you could print with confidence from any computer on any printer. PDF was designed to make printing easy regardless of the varieties of computer and printer combinations.

    Here are 10 reasons PDF files are better for distributing information than Microsoft Word files, (which are made for easy editing not universal distribution and printing.)

    1. Word reformats documents every time it opens a document on a different computer.
    2. Word reformats docs every time a different printer is chosen even on the same computer.
    3. This reformatting can change page numbers on long documents, ruining references and producing different versions for different people.
    4. Reformatting can put hyphens in the middle of sentences making meaning of words harder to understand (mis-son or mission?).
    5. Old versions of Word cannot open versions formatted for newer versions of Word (2007 vs, 2003 vs, 2000 vs. 97).
    6. Word documents can easily be changed either accidentally or for reasons not agreeable to the author.
    7. Every version of Word (or Word with add-ons to view different versions of Word files) is not available on all computers 
    8. Free PDF viewers are easily available while Word is a commerical program that users must pay to obtain and upgrade.
    9. PDF is created for electronic distribution and use on a wide variety of computer configurations.
    10. PDF can be easily opened and viewed from the web sites.

    PDF viewers

    You probably already have one on your computer.  

    Adobe is the creator of PDF and has the most common reader It is free, but I recommend unchecking the option box that installs McAfee Security Scan.

    FoxIt Reader is also free and less demanding on computers. 

    Making a PDF file

    Version 2007 of Microsoft Office has a free download plug-in that will save files as PDF

    Recent versions of Wordperfect have a built-in option to print to PDF

    PrimoPDF has a free version that installs as a “printer” that prints by saving a PDF version of the document (or any file) to your computer.

    CutePDF also installs as a “printer”

    Wikipedia has a list of other PDF programs 

    Online options (nothing to install!) include NitroPDF’s free pdftoword and Adobe’s CreatePDF (previously free, an annual paid subscription required) You send a file via a web page and they email you a link to download the PDF file in a few hours.

    The original post was on Eastminster Presbytery’s website.