This idea has been percolating for a while, but really became urgent in the last couple of days. I read a blog post by a young woman who was seeking to pray better. And her definition of "better" included heavy-duty denial and self-abnegation. It was the saddest thing I've read in a while. If you switched the words "praying to god" with "loving my husband", and kept all the other aspects, it would have been a mini-manual for a controlling relationship, borderline abusive.
Pulling away from that one particular example, I must ask, if you (whoever you are) would not take such domineering, controlling, pushy attitudes from a partner, why take them from a deity? Why let a construct made by people thousands of years ago control you? If, for argument's sake (just a moment) Why say "oh, if only I could be more genuine and earnest" in prayer to being that sees your best efforts, your tireless work, your every move in glorifying him and goes "pfft"?
I was raised by women. Wise, educated, creative, passionate women. Women who never waited for someone to do something for them, and instead did it themselves, no matter how hard it was. These women went through incredible hardships, one right after the other, as problems tend to come. And every time, I would see a set of rosary beads, or a hand grabbing for a prayer card, or a sighed "god is good". At least they didn't hand over all things to the divine - life would be impossible if you spend all your time waiting for a cosmic being! But the instinct towards prayer mystifies me.
And I tried it myself. Nothing ever happened. Didn't matter how I did it, how often, how much I bent my mind into the gymnastics deemed fit for "proper" prayer. So you can guess how well that turned out for me!
As I've gotten a little older, and done a few more things, I've notice something: the farther I go in my journey as a feminist, the more I am convinced that the only moral option in life is to refuse religion. I cannot see how religions, especially major religions, are in any way conducive to the health, well being, and safety of women. Faith and prayer are especially dangerous for women. Faith and prayer asks women to shut their rational brains off, to not take care of themselves, to accept any and all abuse thrown at them, to become complacent with problems they encounter, and to wait for the ultimate patriarchal figure/superhero to swoop in. At that rate, you may as well pray to Batman!
So, I'm going to keep chewing on this, and fleshing out some points, and I'll post the finished thing up when I have it in a fit state for other eyes.