In The End of the Affair Graham Greene tells a story of Sarah Miles and Bendrix who are having an extramarital affair. One day the lovers have a tryst while London was bombarded by German air forces during World War II. When Bendrix goes downstairs for a moment he gets blasted by an explosion that buries him beneath the crushing weight of a heavy wooden door. The plot takes an important twist when Sarah, despite her lack of religious belief, begins to pray. She promises to God that she would end the affair if Bendrix is allowed to live again. Bendrix does live and Sarah decided to break off the affair.
Like Sarah Miles in The End of the Affair, many people only pray when they need divine intervention, either when their family members get cancer or they need to undergo a critical moment in their private life and career. But in the era of the hashtag “#dontpray,” people do not want to pray anymore when they have to deal with a tragedy or feeling helpless, but rather they blame God for the tragedy in their life.
But Jesus teaches us to pray Our Father as a reminder that prayer does not fix everything directly, immediately and instantly. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Perhaps Jesus will write a hashtag “#don’t use me for an escape hatch.” With this hashtag Jesus will remind us that we have done it a lot of times, we get caught in a bad situation, get into trouble and then we come running to him. “Lord Jesus help me out of this mess and I promise that I will never do it again.” Then Jesus will ask, “do you remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?” “Which bargain are you remembering?” So, instead of constantly making bargains with Jesus or becoming angry with Him because He does not answer our prayer, we could continue the prayer that He teaches us and let His will be done.